From the author of the "big-hearted ... inspiring" (Vogue) New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Kabul and the women who meet there - each with a story and a secret that will lead them all to an extraordinary friendship.
Sunny is an energetic American living in Kabul, whose pride and joy is the coffee shop she runs for expats - and their stories that filter through her daily life. Yazmina is a young woman from a remote village; when she's kidnapped and left on a city street, pregnant and alone, Sunny gives her a home - but all Yazmina wants is to find a way to rescue her sister from the same fate. Into the coffee shop - and Yazmina's and Sunny's lives - come Candace, a wealthy American looking for a way to help, but who ends up needing help herself; Isabel, a determined journalist whose past secret might keep her from the biggest story of her life; and Halajan, the den mother whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules - and threatens to turn her own son against her. As these women gather together and discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they'll form a bond that will change not only their lives, but the lives of an entire country.
"Readers will appreciate in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen." - Booklist
"A craftsman and a storyteller, Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly..." - Publishers Weekly
"But this first novel is engrossing ... especially those with an interest in current events in the Middle East..." - Library Journal
"But ultimately her cozy sentimentality undercuts the elements of harsh realism, as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner." - Kirkus
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Rated of 5
A Sweet Story!!
I’d read Deborah’s first book, a debut memoir titled: “The Kabul Beauty School” so of course I’ve been anxious to read this one, her first debut work of fiction “A Cup of Friendship”.
The novel is centered around the “Kabul Coffee House” in Afghanistan right in the middle of a war zone. Sunny, an American woman, is the owner and along with her Afghan employees her coffee house is home to a mixed variety of people: a British journalist, a country widow, a wealthy American named Candace and the pregnant Yasmina. The characters are lovable and their good qualities seep through in the story and you’ll want to help them overcome their faults yourself.
This was an extremely good book in giving you a bird’s eye view of an American working in the dirty and dusty city of Kabul surrounded by her newest friends and family. Deborah’s years of living in Afghanistan herself has provided her with a perceptive eye which added to the story, her experiences there leak through into this story giving us a clearer picture of what Afghanistan is really like. Well done!
Rated of 5
Sue Ellen S. (Cedar Falls, IA)
A Timely Book
If for no other reason, I encourage readers to pick up this book for what they will learn about current conditions in Afghanistan. Because the author has lived and worked in Afghanistan, she is able to lend credibility to this work of fiction. This is a fast-paced read and one with an important message about making choices—i.e., when must one choose to be compassionate rather than judgmental? When must one choose to set aside the strict mores of religious and/or cultural tradition and embrace flexibility? That said, the title does not fit. This novel is much more than a book about friendship and coffee or tea.
Rated of 5
Virginia M. (Old Hickory, Tennessee)
A Cup of Friendship
A good read. I was intrigued by the title and subtitle because I'd previously read "A Cup of Tea". Not quite the same caliber, but an interesting read nonetheless.
Rated of 5
Lee M. (Creve Coeur, Missouri)
A New Slant
In "A Cup of Friendship" Deborah Rodriguez's first-hand knowledge of Kabul and Afghanistan is the glue that holds together the story of Sunny and her coffee shop. The author's love of the country and its people gives a special significance to this love story.
Rated of 5
Patricia S. (Yankton, SD)
A special cup of "tea"
The sights, sounds, smells, and tensions of Kabul make the city become another character In A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez. Not history but modern day Kabul with all the beauty that remains under the devastation of war. Behind tall walls, built to protect from the danger of the bombs being set off almost daily, five women meet in Sunny’s Kabul Coffee house to discuss and take action on the rights of women in Afganistan under the impending threat of the return of the Taliban. There they find friendship and love. There the men in their lives struggle with the conflict between tradition and love. This is an outstanding first novel and makes the reader want to share in a cup of Sunny’s special “tea.”
Rated of 5
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA)
About a month before I started A Cup of Friendship, I read Deborah Rodriguez’ earlier memoir, Kabul Beauty School. I remember enjoying the first half, but struggling to maintain interest throughout the rest of the book. I believe Deborah Rodriguez was able to achieve far more with her novel Cup of Friendship than she was with her earlier memoir. From her debut fiction all of the Afghan characters, the American characters, the cultures, the extreme gulfs between the cultures, the dangers, the challenges, and the hopes all coalesced into a very compelling and very readable novel drawing the reader far closer to Afghanistan than newspaper stories, media glimpses or certainly, even Ms. Rodriguez’s factual memoir.
Deborah Rodriguez has worked as a hairdresser since 1979, except for a brief
time when she was a corrections officer in her hometown of Holland,
Michigan. She used to direct the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty
academy and training salon in Afghanistan where she lived with her Afghan
According to the New York Times (April 2007), six women also involved in the beauty school in Afghanistan dispute parts of her memoir, particularly concerning the Beauty School's founding, how she won control of the school and why, and her stories about several Afghani women. The author and publisher say that in the future, they will make it clear Rodriguez didn't found the school and that the Afghani women's identities needed to be protected.
Rodriguez left ...
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