Zoya's Story by John Follain
An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom

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Kabul was always more beautiful in the snow. Even the piles of rotting rubbish in my street, the only source of food for the scrawny chickens and goats that our neighbors kept outside their mud houses, looked beautiful to me after the snow had covered them in white during the long night.

Though she is only twenty-three, Zoya has witnessed and endured more tragedy and terror than most people experience in a lifetime. Born in a land ravaged by war, she was robbed of her parents when they were murdered by Muslim fundamentalists. Devastated, she fled Kabul with her grandmother and started a new life in exile in Pakistan. She joined the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), an organization that challenged the crushing edicts of the Taliban government, and she took destiny into her own hands, joining a dangerous, clandestine war to save her nation.

Direct and unsentimental, Zoya vividly brings to life the realities of growing up in a Muslim culture, the terror of living in a perpetual war zone, the pain of losing those she has loved, the horrors of a woman’s life under the Taliban, and the discovered healing and transformation that lead her on a path of resistance.


About John Follain

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JOHN FOLLAIN was born in 1966. He studied at Oxford before joining Reuters, for which he worked as a correspondent in Rome and Paris. He has covered Italy for The Sunday Times since 1998. His previous books include The Last Godfathers and Zoya's Story on an Afghan resistance fighter, which was translated into fourteen languages. He was voted runner-up for the 2006 Paul Foot Award for Campaigning Journalism, and nominated for the 2008 Magazine Journalism Awards for his interview with the Knox family.
Published February 15, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 264 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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She vividly describes Taliban atrocities, the grossly inadequate medical care for women (most female doctors fled), and the absurdity of wearing the cumbersome burqa, in which “something as mundane as eating ice cream became a ridiculous undertaking.” Timely and sobering.

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Now 23, Zoya was a child during the Russian invasion and a teen when the Taliban took power.

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