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Publisher's Summary

An exquisite and inspiring memoir about one mother's unimaginable choice in the face of oppression and abuse in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

The day that Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul was barricaded because of a suicide bomber explosion. With the city and military on edge, an armed soldier pointed his gun at the pregnant woman's bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, forced to make her way on foot, Homeira walked through the blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors, propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child. But the joy of her beautiful son's birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life. 

No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children to read and write, and fought for women's rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society. Shortly after Siawash's birth, as she was preparing to leave for the United States to participate in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, her husband divorced her, allowing her to leave Afghanistan—but without her beloved son.

Homeira was faced with a heartbreaking choice that would forever haunt her. 

Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother's searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story—and that of Afghan women—Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity.

©2020 Homeira Qaderi (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Dancing in the Mosque

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An Afghan girlhood

This is an incredibly beautifully told account of the author's life in Afghanistan, from the time she was born in 1980 under the Soviet occupation, until she was married under Taliban rule, and beyond. It is not an ordinary story; she is an extraordinarily brave and accomplished person. As we learn very early on, she was forcibly separated from her son when he was only 19 months old. This book is written partly as memoir and partly as a letter to her son, written from her exile in California, the story alternating with her words to the son who's been told she is dead. Dr. Qaderi is an award-winning writer in Persian, and I have no trouble believing it, because even in translation her writing is magical. I wish I'd had this book when I was teaching a university course on women in Muslim societies; it gives such a direct account of life under the Taliban, and, lest we think it paints all Muslims with the same brush--even those that live under Islamist regimes--it depicts Iran, where she and her husband lived in their early marriage, as a feminist paradise.

The narrator's performance is also excellent. She clearly speaks Persian and knows how to pronounce the names and other words.

4 people found this helpful

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Narration

The story’s interesting though it felt sometimes lacking in detail.! Did not like the narration.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent story

While I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Homeira Qaderi, the editing of the narration was surprisingly not of good quality. There were so many times when the voice changed due to editing sentences here and there. It was very distracting. I wish this would be recorded again because this is a very powerful glimpse into the life of Afghan women. The production doesn’t do justice too the story.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing

If you read only one book this year. Make it this one. It kept me captive.

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Fantastic true story

How Islamic repression of women personally affected this literate and brave Afghan woman. Spellbinding and inspiring.

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Courage defined

The author is writing to her SPN - the child she was denied when her Afghan husband divorced her. Rich memoir about a woman of great courage who is determined to see woman be freed from the tyrant of life I Der Afghan society.

2 people found this helpful