A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy businessman, forced at age 15 to marry 40-year-old Rasheed, who grows increasingly brutal as she fails to produce a child. Eighteen years later, Rasheed takes another wife, 14-year-old Laila, a smart and spirited girl whose only other options, after her parents are killed by rocket fire, are prostitution or starvation. Against a backdrop of unending war, Mariam and Laila become allies in a battle with Rasheed, whose violence is endorsed by custom and law.
by Diana Abu-Jaber
Sirine, who is half-Arab and a chef at a Lebanese restaurant, falls hopelessly in love with Han, an Iraqi exile and professor at a local university. Weaves into this story is a fanciful folktale of a mother's search for her wandering son, told by Sirine's uncle-turned-surrogate-father.
Earth and Ashes
by Atiq Rahimi
Dastaguir and his grandson Yassin wait beside a guard post on the road to the mine where Dastaguir's son Murad works. The family's village has been bombed, and everyone else in the family is dead; Yassin was deafened by the attack. While he waits for a ride to the mine, Dastaguir is visited by fantastic visions. The blasted dreamscape of Rahimi's story and his tightly controlled prose make this a sobering literary testament to the horrors of war.
The House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus III
Opportunity knocks for an Iranian immigrant in California when the county offers for sale a seized house at a bargain price. It will serve as a launching pad for his real-estate business. When the county discovers it made an error, the drug-addicted woman who owned the house demands its return, but the Iranian refuses. Unfortunately for him, the woman's lover is a policeman who takes the law into his hands.
The Mulberry Empire : Or the Two Virtuous Journeys of the Amir Dost Mohammed Khan
by Philip Hensher
In the spring of 1839, some fifty thousand British forces entered Afghanistan with "the full pomp of Empire," possessed of the certainty that they would replace the Amir with someone less hostile toward their ally, the King of the Punjab. Three years later, a single British horseman rode out of the Afghan mountains into India-the sole survivor of the original vast contingent. "The Mulberry Empire" is the story of the politics and people on both sides of this conflict.
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri portrays the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, and, most poignantly, the tangled ties between generations. "The Namesake" takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans.
The Swallows of Kabul
by John Cullen
Set in Kabul under the rule of the Taliban, this novel takes readers into the lives of two couples on opposite sides of the religious conflict. All of their lives have been altered by the Taliban, and a dramatic incident involving the stoning of an adulterous woman brings them together in a story of absurd cruelty and transcendent love and sacrifice.