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Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to her Son

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Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to her Son Ratings: 0 - 0 votes
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An exquisite and inspiring memoir about one mother’s unimaginable choice in the face of oppression and abuse in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

How far would you go to protect yourself? Your dignity? Your family?

In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman’s bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. 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, at the age of thirteen, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women’s rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society.

Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother’s searing letter to the son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story – and that of Afghan women – Homeira challenges us to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival.


‘Page-turning account of the lives of Afghan women … at the heart of this moving memoir is an aching sadness’ Observer

‘How does a girl grow to be a woman in a society that shuts off every opportunity? How does a mother choose between her child and the future, not just her future but that of the women of Afghanistan? Homeira Qaderi answers these impossible questions in her stunning memoir, Dancing in the Mosque – one of the most moving love letters to life itself that you will ever read.’ Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Last Train to London

‘Powerful … an unvarnished, memorable portrayal of a mother’s grief and love’ Kirkus

‘A remarkable story of great strength, perseverance, and personal sacrifice by a woman selflessly working to advance the rights of women in her homeland of Afghanistan, women and girls who yearn to be free … I wept when I read the words, " in this land, it is better to be a stone than a girl." Thank you, Homeira, for telling a story that everyone needs to read.’ Deborah Rodriguez, author of The Kabul Beauty School and The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

Product details

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fourth Estate (1 Dec. 2020)

Language ‏ : ‎ English

Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages

ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0008375283

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0008375287

Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.5 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm

Customer reviews: 4.5 out of 5 stars    561 ratings

About the Author

Homeira QADERI is the author of six books, including the novel Noqrah, a Girl from Kabul River, published in Iran in 2009 to widespread critical acclaim. An activist for women’s rights who served as a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Qaderi is currently Senior Advisor to the Minister of Education. She teaches at several universities in Kabul. She participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.


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