Monday, May 2, 2016

TLC BLOG TOUR: When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi

Title: When the Moon is Low
Author: Nadia Hashimi
Genre: Cultural Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: June 30/2015
Acquired: Print copy sent by publisher
Goodreads: ADD

Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.

Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.


There are narratives that strike your heart by using the shock factor. By using scenes that disturb you, or haunt you, or invoke feelings of an all-around uncomfortable nature. Those are the books that are praised as being the most realistic, the ones that closest mirror the horrors in the world. But should it take scenes of rape, and torture, and senseless violence to really appreciate the enormity and importance of the content in a novel? I didn't need it, and I sure as hell didn't think When the Moon is Low read as anything less than spectacular without it.

It didn't begin as a story of struggle, nor has there been many times where I've fallen in love with a main character so quickly. Fereiba's upbringing brought to mind and heart a Cinderella-esque tone, with less of the wicked, and more of the unfortunate. No, When the Moon is Low was not initially a story about finding refuge, it began as a story about a young girl attempting to find herself. I was so intensely captivated by the stokes that Hashimi painted, by the emotions that coursed through my veins caused by how genuinely the characters expressed their own emotions. 

When the backdrop became one of a newly Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, and the story veered off path drastically, I feared that I would become witness to unimaginable acts of violence and terror. I'll admit it, I thought Hashimi would now begin using her carefully crafted words to paint a more grim picture, one that would have me putting the book down to clear the images from my head. But, alas, my fears were unwarranted, because When the Moon is Low consistently focused on it's characters and their personal journey to escape an iron fist. There was no need for graphic details to feel every ounce of hopelessness, and triumph, and pain. I congratulate Hashimi a MILLION times over for being able to express that so effortlessly, and despite the content, so beautifully.

Books like that are needed, I understand that: graphically disturbing books. I understand that our world would become an even larger beacon for ignorance without books, documentaries, and news updates that depict the gruesome and unfortunate realities happening this very second. But I also understand that we need to celebrate books like When the Moon is Low. We need to bare witness to the individual stories, the ones that were not very different from our own before they were torn into unrecognizable shreds. It's what keeps us human. It's what had me pouring my entire soul into Fereiba's, and then Saleem's, quest for peace, for normalcy. 

I urge you to read this book. I urge you to pick it up and leave all expectations at the title page. Go into it void of any need to be shocked to your core, but with a heart that's willing to empathize, encourage, and root with all of your being for the people you're going to find within it.

Recommended for Fans of: Cultural fiction, Historical fiction, familial values, The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.



CLICK HERE to read more about Nadia on her website's author page!



Thank-you to Trish at TLCBlogTours, and William Morrow for sending me a print copy to read, and review for this tour! 


  1. Authors who can paint the story without the gratuitous scenes have a true gift!

    Thank you for being on this tour!

  2. I agree that this is such a powerful read. Hashimi pulls you right in and you root so hard for these characters. You just want them to be safe and together, and for some good things to finally happen to them!

    1. Yes! I absolutely LOVE this author, and I can't wait to read everything else she puts out into the world.


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