A Fort of Nine Towers by Qais Akbar Omar
Rating: 5/5. Emotions were many.
So, one of my new, very much long-term goals is to read at least one book from every country. Preferably about that country, but more importantly to me (for now, at least) is the author. I suppose, technically, that I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been reading, without being aware of it.
Therefore, it doesn’t count. (It does if I can clearly remember the book and author, though. At least I can reread in that case.)
So when I noticed that Bookdepository was holding a rather large sale, I jumped at the chanced to stock up on at least one new non-fiction book for my shelves. I saw A Fort of Nine Towers for a good price — the blurb looked very intriguing — so I thought why the hell not, and had a copy dispatched my way.
This is one of those times where essentially picking up a random book while knowing next to nothing about it worked out brilliantly.
In fairness — this is not a happy read, nor is it an easy one. I know all of nothing about the events described in the book and could never do them justice by attempting to describe them. Afghanistan read like such a warm and beautiful place pre-international interference, with warm and beautiful people that seemed like they could (and would) make anybody feel right at home. To read about the escalations from the perspective of someone who was there and grew up during it was rough. I can’t imagine having been there myself, despite Qais’s words wrapping me up so easily in the history of him and his family.
It was rough, and tragic, and hopeful, and I’m terribly glad that I read this book. Considering how on edge the current political climates of the world are, it is so important to read about other people and to learn of their lives. Their differences make them incredible, and without the hodge-podge of peoples all over the world, full of culture and history, the good on our planet simply Wouldn’t Be.
Reading of their incredibly tight-knit family was foreign to me, different and that kind of nourishing that has nothing at all to do with the body. The lightness and curiosity, the zeal for learning and branching each other’s thoughts to form something brilliant and new.
I’m just one anxious person amongst many living in Ireland, and while I can’t always leave the apartment, I can still choose to better myself and abolish my own haze of ignorance. Being able to read books like these is critical — someone who is very white, very much of European descent, and was very safe from harm in the West when these events were taking place.