“A community full of love and strife and humor, teenagers who die too young, women who understand life, men who tell bad jokes and believe in superstitions that come true, who pray to a kind God many of us don’t believe in or know. Their way of life is an ode to humanity, and I’m so glad Anna Badkhen, one of the most creative and important non-fiction writers in our era, has allowed us to know them.”
“A work of quiet genius...[Badkhen's] patient consideration of what matters most in human life is unexpectedly hopeful."
Walking with Abel
“Lucid, generous, and rugged, Badkhen has written a magisterial book which speaks to us as a species in the early twenty-first century – where have we walked from and where are we walking.”
–J.M. Ledgard, author of Submergence
The World Is a Carpet
"Season by season, rite by rite, encounter by encounter, thread by illuminating thread, Badkhen weaves a glorious prose carpet that poignantly captures the surface and the soul of life in Oqa, and in all the Oqas that grace the loom of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan by Donkey
“If you can’t understand a country just from looking at the cities, you certainly can’t understand a war just from reading about the battles.”
–Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War
Waiting for the Taliban
A few days before I left Northern Afghanistan, I met an old man in a soiled turban sitting on his haunches on the sidewalk of Dasht-e-Shor Street in Mazar-e-Sharif, cupping a white pigeon.
“Take her,” the man said, thrusting the bird at me. I touched the pigeon’s neck with my fingertips.
She unfolded her wings again, and I could see the marble of her underbelly.
Something seemed amiss. I looked again.
Her legs were broken.
“An extraordinary mosaic built of keen observation and uncommon compassion.”
—Gina Ochsner, author of The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight