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The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
 
 

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana [Kindle Edition]

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Review

'The Dressmaker of Khair Khana gives voice to many of our world's unsung heroines. Against all odds, these young women created hope and community, and they never gave up. This book is guaranteed to move you - and to show you a side of Afghanistan few ever see.' (Angelina Jolie)

'Kamila Sidiqi's unforgettable story shows just how far we are willing to go for those we love, and proves once again the power of girls to remake our world. This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.' (Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea)

'Gayle Lemmon's riveting portrait of Kamila, told with grace, elegance and passion, captures the extraordinary tenacity and ingenuity of one woman who quietly broke the rules to defy the Taliban and save her family. A powerful read.' (Tina Brown)

' . . ..an exciting, engrossing [story] that reads like a novel, complete with moments of tension and triumph, plus well-researched detail on daily life in Kabul under Taliban rule. . . It's a fascinating story that touches on family, gender, business, and politics and offers inspiration through the resourceful, determined woman at its heart.' (Publishers Weekly, Pick of the Week)

Books on Afghanistan usually fall into one of two categories: policy oriented polemics, or simple tales about do-gooders. Rarely has an author been so successful in turning on-the-ground reportage into a dramatic and yet deeply informative story. THE DRESSMAKER OF KHAIR KHANA reads like great fiction and yet it is all true; this book will grab you from the first sentence and take you on an amazing journey that crosses many borders: cultural, geographical, intellectual and, most importantly, emotional. It is a must-read (Mohamed el-Erian, author of When Markets Collide)

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon embroiders the life of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, the remarkable story of an ingenious young Afghan woman who, under the Taliban's rule, created jobs for 100 women (Vanity Fair)

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells a true, inspiring story of courageous women and quiet heroism at work in Taliban-era Afghanistan (The Christian Science Monitor)

[A] moving story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young woman in Kabul, Afghanistan, who, out of desperation, started a successful dressmaking business to support her family and other destitute women during the repressive Taliban regime . . . Given the continued conflict in Afghanistan under foreign occupation, curious readers may want to know more about the current struggles of Afghan women. A revealing work that contributes to the literature on women under Afghanistan's Taliban regime (Library Journal)

An inspiring, uplifting story about one woman's extraordinary courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity (Booklist)

Former ABC News producer Lemmon's account is the product of several years of in-depth interviewing, and the author convincingly evokes the atmosphere of Taliban-era Kabul. The author also pays scrupulous attention to the details of character development and narrative momentum . . . [a] moving story . . . As Lemmon writes, women in war zones like Afghanistan are more often depicted as "victims of war who deserve our sympathy rather than as resilient survivors who demand our respect. I was determined to change this." Mission accomplished. A memorable, inspiring story of courageous community-building (Kirkus Reviews)

'[A] powerful tale of sisterhood tells the extraordinary true story of a young woman living in Kabul under Taliban rule. Against the odds, she sets up a business that provided jobs and hope for a community of women' (Grazia)

Review

'THE DRESSMAKER OF KHAIR KHANA gives voice to many of our world's unsung heroines. Against all odds, these young women created hope and community, and they never gave up. This book is guaranteed to move you - and to show you a side of Afghanistan few ever see.' -- ANGELINA JOLIE 'Kamila Sediqi's unforgettable story shows just how far we are willing to go for those we love, and proves once again the power of girls to remake our world. This is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read.' -- GREG MORTENSON, author of THREE CUPS OF TEA "Gayle Lemmon's riveting portrait of Kamila, told with grace, elegance and passion, captures the extraordinary tenacity and ingenuity of one woman who quietly broke the rules to defy the Taliban and save her family. A powerful read." -- TINA BROWN ' ...an exciting, engrossing [story] that reads like a novel, complete with moments of tension and triumph, plus well-researched detail on daily life in Kabul under Taliban rule... It's a fascinating story that touches on family, gender, business, and politics and offers inspiration through the resourceful, determined woman at its heart.' -- Publishers Weekly, Pick of the Week 20110110 Books on Afghanistan usually fall into one of two categories: policy oriented polemics, or simple tales about do-gooders. Rarely has an author been so successful in turning on-the-ground reportage into a dramatic and yet deeply informative story. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana reads like great fiction and yet it is all true; this book will grab you from the first sentence and take you on an amazing journey that crosses many borders: cultural, geographical, intellectual and, most importantly, emotional. It is a must-read -- Mohamed El-Erian, author of WHEN MARKETS COLLIDE 20110110 Gayle Tzemach Lemmon embroiders the life of The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, the remarkable story of an ingenious young Afghan woman who, under the Taliban's rule, created jobs for 100 women -- Vanity Fair 20110110 Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells a true, inspiring story of courageous women and quiet heroism at work in Taliban-era Afghanistan -- The Christian Science Monitor 20110110 [A] moving story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young woman in Kabul, Afghanistan, who, out of desperation, started a successful dressmaking business to support her family and other destitute women during the repressive Taliban regime ... Given the continued conflict in Afghanistan under foreign occupation, curious readers may want to know more about the current struggles of Afghan women. A revealing work that contributes to the literature on women under Afghanistan's Taliban regime -- Library Journal 20110110 An inspiring, uplifting story about one woman's extraordinary courage and ingenuity in the face of adversity -- Booklist 20110110 Former ABC News producer Lemmon's account is the product of several years of in-depth interviewing, and the author convincingly evokes the atmosphere of Taliban-era Kabul. The author also pays scrupulous attention to the details of character development and narrative momentum ... [a] moving story ... As Lemmon writes, women in war zones like Afghanistan are more often depicted as "victims of war who deserve our sympathy rather than as resilient survivors who demand our respect. I was determined to change this." Mission accomplished. A memorable, inspiring story of courageous community-building -- Kirkus Reviews 20110110 "[A] transporting, enlightening book... The Dressmaker is a fascinating window on Afghan life under the Taliban and a celebration of women the world over who support their loved ones with tenacity, inventiveness and sheer guts." -- People Magazine 20110110

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 355 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray (3 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004O0U57K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,195 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saving her family a stitch at a time... 23 July 2011
By Angel TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Imagine living in a town and thinking you know what life is supposed to be like, a career lies ahead of you, family are around you, then suddenly, overnight, you find that everything has completely changed. All aspects of your life are suddenly beyond your control and almost every choice you had taken for granted has been taken away from you. You can no longer even walk in the street or decide what clothes to wear and you certainly won't be allowed to work. Fiction? Reality, in Kabul in 1996 as the Taliban arrive and the scene for the fascinating story of Kamila Sadiqi as told by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon in this excellent book.

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana" is billed as a Biography as it is based on the years of research that the author undertook in order to be able to portray what life was like for women in Afghanistan under the Taliban. According to the foreword, some of the names and details of the characters have been changed as life continues to be difficult in Afghanistan today as we are all, to an extent or another, aware.

For me, the most exceptional thing about this book is that it puts a face and identity to the people of Afghanistan and, more particularly the women. Too often, in this day of information overload we hear sound bites about the events that are happening around the world, but live in ignorance as to the bigger picture. To my shame I have to say that though I know that the history of Afghanistan is troubled and has been for centuries, I hadn't ever really thought that much about what life was like for women or how it might feel to be an Afghan woman.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What an excellent book this is!

This is the story of Kamila Sidiqi, an Afghan teenager whose life was changed completely when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in the 1990s. She was looking forward to continuing her education, having just completed high school, when the new regime made it clear that women were no longer to be educated, must not leave the house without an escort, and must henceforth cover themselves completely. Kamila's world of opportunity shrunk overnight to a world of seclusion and torpor.

So she began a business, making clothes for the traders in Kabul's markets to sell, and this book is the story of her remarkable enterprise. She roped in four of her sisters and her brother, and gradually extended her network to encompass over thirty other women from her neighbourhood, all desperate to earn some money to keep starvation at bay.

I have always been interested in Afghanistan, and was drawn into this book immediately. It is well-written - if rather sparsely - and the author provides lots of good, contextual information as well, placing the events in a good historical framework.

My only complaint is that the book was too short! I would have loved to have read more details about Kamila's work, about other events in Afghanistan, and particularly about what happened after the Taliban were thrown out of Kabul by NATO forces in 2001. This last is important, because Kamila's story doesn't end there, and I was agog to find out more about what she was doing once the Taliban threat was over. Instead, this period was dealt with concisely in only a few paragraphs.

However, it was perfect as a short book for anyone who has an interest in Afghanistan, the plight of the Afghanis, or even about women's rights anywhere in the world. I read it in a little over an afternoon, unable to take my eyes from the page.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By J. Coulton VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is the fascinating, moving, and very well written true story of the way one young woman fought back against the repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Kamila Sidiqi didn't set out to be a rebel, just to assuage the relentless boredom that came with the new enforced domestication for women banned from earning a living or getting an education outside of their own homes, and to feed her five brothers and sisters.

Kamila achieved this and much more through taking up the art of dressmaking, which she had previously shown little interest in, preferring instead a much more academic route. After her parents had to flee to the north of the country to escape her father having to fight for the Taliban, her big sister showed her the basics of sewing, and she was soon impressing local traders who were eager to buy her wares.

Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells this extraordinary story from her own experience after meeting these women when on a journalistic assignment. This book brings home very effectively through the everyday struggles of Kamila and her family, just how oppressive the new regime was for women. The clothing they were allowed to wear was heavily proscribed, with the heavy coverall chadri needing to be worn at all times when outside the home. If women did venture outside their home, they had to be accompanied by a male mahram, or chaperone. And they lived in perpetual fear of displeasing the Taliban for some minor infringement of their harsh regime or other. Even laughing aloud in public was banned, but as Lemmon observes, `there seemed little risk of breaking that rule these days.'

The book is heart-warming amongst all the harshness of the Taliban rule.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting insight
Published 22 days ago by jacqui smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring
This is a very readable story. It makes me realise how very lucky I am to live in Britain and have my freedom.
Published 1 month ago by carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
A great insight into women's lives in Afghanistan. A very different story to the military ones we often hear. A great story, well told.
Published 1 month ago by P.J. Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
an eye opener into the world of the ladies in the middle east. Loved it and would highly recommend. Makes you realise how lucky we are
Published 2 months ago by Gember
2.0 out of 5 stars The Dressmaker
This book was ok but I found myself skipping most of it. There's definitely better literature on Taliban occupied Afghanistan
Published 3 months ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
Gripping true account of one woman's struggle to support and protect her family under Taliban rule - innovative and brave against a harsh regime where women are not to be seen or... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jan Roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing
I am interested in the way of life in Afgahistan and this book is a fascinating insight into the way that women and girls were subjected to harsh censor and treatment by the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cally
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Could not put this book down a great read gives you an ideas of what woman went through in the first years
Published 5 months ago by carole hanrahan
4.0 out of 5 stars Present for my sister
I can't really comment as I haven't read the book - I sent it on to my sister as it was a birthday present, but I assume she will like. Quick delivery, thank you
Published 8 months ago by vicky bamford
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite detailed enough
I have read one or two books about Afganistan and I was looking forward to reading a true story, but somehow there was not enough desciption detail to bring the scene to life. Read more
Published 9 months ago by wendyj
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