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The Taliban Cricket Club [Paperback]

Timeri N. Murari
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 6.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 July 2012
Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist working for the Kabul Times in Afghanistan. She also takes care of her mother and her younger brother Jahan.

Their quiet but tenuous way of life is shattered with the arrival of a summons for Rukhsana to appear before the infamous Ministry to Promote Virtue and Punish Vice.The Minister, Zorak Wahidi, has two things in mind: to threaten the traditionally anti-Taliban news reporters, and to announce the Taliban's intention to hold a cricket tournament, the winner of which will represent Afghanistan in the International Cricket Council. By the end of the meeting, he has a third desire: Rukhsana's hand in marriage. Driven into hiding and cloistered in a burqua, Rukhsana doesn't despair - the Minister, without knowing it, has given her a way out.

You won't be able to forget this soaring novel of resilience. Rukhsana's story will remind us what one person - one woman - can do to reclaim her voice in the face of brutality and repression. With tenderness and clarity, Timeri Murari shows us how no tyranny is ever absolute when love still exists.

'A moving, splendidly realised story of courage and grit in modern-day Kabul. I was won over by Murari's uplifting and vastly entertaining sporting tale, which reaffirms the power of friendship, fellowship, and love in the face of all forms of tyranny.' Vikas Swarup, author of Slumdog Millionaire

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin; 1st Edition edition (1 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1742378846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1742378848
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 435,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A strange and alluring combination of cricket, the Taliban, and a lively, clever heroine makes this novel unputdownable. --New Books

An engaging read and a real page turner --Red

Sometimes a book comes along that makes you think it's going to cause quite a stir and could well be set to be one that everyone's talking about in a few month's time. That was my impression when I read The Taliban Cricket Club.

About the Author

Timeri Murari is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and playwright, who began his career as a journalist in Ontario, Canada. He writes for the Guardian, The Sunday Times, and other magazines and newspapers internationally. He has published both fiction and non-fiction, and his bestselling novel, TAJ, was translated into 19 languages and has recently been reissued by Penguin India. In 2006, he published a memoir, My Temporary Son, exploring the difficulties of adopting a desperately ill orphan. Timeri now lives with his wife in his ancestral home of Chennai, India.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Taliban Cricket Club 30 Jun 2012
In The Taliban Cricket Club, Timeri Murari weaves a tale of hope, love and family around the obscure historical fact of Afghanistan's application to the International Cricket Council in 2000.

Rukhsana is a fiercely independent woman, frustratingly oppressed by the Taliban regime. She has had to give up her job as a journalist, to dress by the laws of the Taliban, and to have her younger brother as a chaperone whenever out in public. Yet she is defiant and tries to resist the laws as much as possible, even risking her life by writing under a pseudonym. The situation becomes even more dangerous when she comes to the attention of General Wahidi, a Talib minister at the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, who seeks to take her as his wife. Escape is almost impossible, but hope comes from a cricket tournament organised by the Taliban, where the promised prize is a trip to Pakistan for a week of training. Rukhsana's love of the sport, grown when at university in Delhi, makes her the perfect coach for a team, and she gathers her family around in an attempt to train a winning team and get out of the country.

Murari is excellent at depicting a war-torn Kabul and the oppression of the regime that left citizens paralysed with fear. Despite the setting and subject though, this is not a violent book; while there are some set pieces of violence, these are subtly and sympathetically used, and are not gratuitous. Instead, this is an optimistic and hopeful novel with a gentle humour about it, with a mixture of romance and adventure. It is a tale of enduring love and devotion to family, yet never becomes saccharine. It is an uplifting novel that has a soft feeling of nostalgia that evokes long days playing cricket, and makes a great summer read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Set in pre-9/11 Taliban-led Afghanistan, this is a rather uncomfortable juxtaposition which highlights some of the horrors of the regime, and yet mixes that background with what is, essentially, a rather `lite' and frothy story with more than a few almost fairy-tale moments.

There are, undoubtedly, some shocking moments of violence and almost unthinking brutality, and some insights into the Taliban-led culture (curtains to separate men and women in buses, for example). But against that is set what is a rather uncomplicated story which seems to smooth over political and cultural complexities. A couple of examples, is that our heroine hates to wear a burka, and is unconflicted about leaving her country: other books that I have read have given a far more nuanced picture of women's relationships to the burka, and have given a greater sense of people wanting or being forced to leave Afghanistan, hating what has been done to it, but still loving the country itself.

It can be difficult to write about such a fraught situation while maintaining some kind of sense of humour, something to offer hope and light, so I can understand what the author seems to be trying to do here but, sadly, for me the book ended up feeling a bit trivial and trivialising: Rukhsana's `disguise', the `trick' in the changing rooms, the will-they-won't-they escape add a disconcertingly almost pantomime edge to the whole book which sits jarringly with the very real depictions of life and death.

So this is an enjoyable book and it does offer some real insight into the plight of Afghani families - it just ends up being far lighter and more frothy that I expected or felt comfortable with.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I expected this to be a quirky novel about life under the Taliban, leavened with some women's subversion of repression and cricket. There was some of that, but the plot is basically a fluffy, predictable romance with burkas thrown in and a tiny bit of cricket in the background. The book only just merited four stars for me (3.5 rounded up) because I found the portrayal of life in Afghnistan under the Taliban, particularly for women, powerful and convincing in places. The author is male and I am pleased to see that female reviewers here found the female narrative voice as convincing as I did.

Apart from these undoubted merits, however, I found the plot and characters thin, predictable and unconvincing. It is packed with cliché and, needless to say, Rukhsana our narrator is perfect, with impeccable loyalty, a feisty spirit, unimpeachable integrity, remarkable beauty which she isn't really aware of...tick them off as you go. I strongly suspect that this was written with more than half an eye on potential film rights.

I must also warn anyone reading this because of the title that the writing about cricket is simply dire. None of the beauty, power and grace of the game is evoked anywhere and the poetry of its language was entirely absent - indeed the author simply doesn't know the meaning of some of the basic cricketing terms he uses, and the cricket itself is ludicrously unconvincing.

If it weren't for the decent depiction of the repression I wouldn't have finished this book and I found myself skimming as the predictable plot was played out by rather cardboard characters, so I'm afraid only a lukewarm recommendation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting mixture of tension with some humour too.
This is the first book I have read which is set in Afghanistan. It highlights some of the main issues of life under the Taliban regime, especially the plight of women. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Leicsliz
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant storyline as well as providing some insight into life ...
Brilliant storyline as well as providing some insight into life in this area under this regime. I couldn't put it down.
Published 1 month ago by mrs r s coxon
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting tale, slightly deus-ex-machina ending
Very interesting story; lots of clichés but also lots of really interesting details. Ending feels rather contrived. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Grylla S. Noab
5.0 out of 5 stars Taliban Cricket Club
Kept me the edge of my seat, kept on making me feel like she had got to safety and then there would be twist. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars A difficult but worthwhile read
I enjoyed reading this. It is not an easy read as it deals with the situation for women in Afghanistan around the time of the Taliban. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sian Watson
5.0 out of 5 stars The characters in this book have stayed with me.
Excellent book. Having just finished this book, I now miss the characters and wish I could still be reading it.
Published 4 months ago by pip norton
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and thoughtful
A brilliant book that managed to put fun into a nightmare situation. I came away believing every free woman should learn to play cricket in support!
Published 4 months ago by Patricia
5.0 out of 5 stars cricket runs through the story but not all about cricket!
Very enjoyable book, could not wait to read more! All our group enjoyed this read and it was interesting to hear about getting used to wearing a burka.
Published 4 months ago by C. Ruth SImpson
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down. I did feel however that it was not totally believable.
Published 4 months ago by Laura G
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
I have recently been reading about war torn countries and trying to understand the reasons for conflict and the impact upon the individuals. Read more
Published 5 months ago by guinessbabe
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