Read advance reader review of When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi, page 3 of 3

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When the Moon Is Low

A Novel

by Nadia Hashimi

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi X
When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Jul 2015, 400 pages

    Apr 2016, 384 pages


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There are currently 21 member reviews
for When the Moon Is Low
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  • Andrea B. (Clinton, WA)
    Plight of Refugees
    This story about a family of refugees portrays the experience of a mother and her three children. There is nothing about the historical background of this story that is unfamiliar as the news has been full of repressive regimes in the Middle East and the status of refugees who have been forced to leave their homes. The arrest and execution of the man of this family demonstrates that physical danger can be the proximate cause of migration, not just economic security. This book is easy to read as the narrative is engaging. It is also hard to read as their plight is so desperate. Not only do these, and other, refugees lose their habitation, their possessions, their food security, but they lose their community of relatives and neighbors. What struck me the most was their isolation and lack of support from any government or from other people, leading to despair and hopelessness. The one time this family found support and comfort from an older couple was in stark contrast to their usual experiences. This timely book puts a human face on the refugee crisis that is overwhelming Europe at the present time.

    I am a senior with time to stay informed regarding current events, thus the main elements of the story were not surprising to me. I would recommend this book for younger readers than myself as this brings attention to the human face of a pervasive news story. A young adult book group might find this an interesting discussion book.
  • Lynne B. (Exeter, NH)
    An Emotional Tale of an Afghan Refugee Family
    After reading Nadia Hashimi's first book, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, I knew I was hooked on this author. Now she has brought us another story from Afghanistan that may be even more emotionally wrenching than her first. This story of an Afghani family suffering through the Taliban takeover provides historical detail through a very personal involvement with two main characters. Fereiba, who tells of her difficult childhood and being forced to make tough decisions as a mother; and her son, Saleem who struggles to become a strong male support for his family even while still an adolescent. Though the specific refugee story is Afghan I feel that the larger theme is the story of all refugee experience. In reading this book I came to realize a better sense of the plight of all refugees coming into a new country and struggling for acceptance. Often their stories are not heard and even as Saleem found when meeting other refugees in his travels, the stories he thought were the same as his proved not to be. He found that the loving support from his family was key to making him one of the luckier ones and helped him to survive against all odds. Hashimi's ability to entrench the reader into her characters' lives is the quality of the story. Those who like Khaled Hosseini's books will find Hashimi's story an excellent addition to the stories of Afghanistan.
  • Ginny B. (Lansdale, PA)
    Touching & Thought-Provoking
    Most of us are pretty familiar with the tragedy of ever-growing numbers of refugees fleeing war, poverty, & persecution.Social justice issues are dear to my heart and I have read a good number of novels as well as journalists' reports on this subject. While this story reveals some of the horrors refugees experience, I'm inclined to think it doesn't go nearly deep enough.This story is told from the two different perspectives of a Middle-Eastern, widowed mother & her grieving and angry young adolescent son as they escape across several countries with two smaller children, one of whom is grievously ill. No mother's heart could fail to be touched by just the thought of enduring such fear as she & her children went through and I was certainly no exception. The novel, written by an Afghan-American pediatrician, suggests they also experienced a level of human kindness that one can only hope might be realistic. The critical importance of volunteer aid workers in countries hosting refugees cannot be emphasized enough. Saleem, the fifteen year old boy who is determined to be the man of the family, will break your heart, particularly as we watch him repeatedly compromise his principles, as taught by his deceased father, in order to provide food & shelter for his family, while protecting his mother from the truth of just how precarious their lives and futures really are.
  • Lisa G. (Riverwoods, IL)
    When the Moon is Low
    This was a good book but I would not say great. It was fiction but read like non-fiction, we all know how bad things were in Afghanistan when the Taliban came in and how desperately people wanted to leave. I did not find the family's story all that compelling. I was more interested in the mother than the teenage son but the majority of the book was about the son. I found myself thinking things were bad but not really THAT bad and they did have money which certainly helped with bribes and their escape plan. Not every family was that fortunate.
  • Sally H. (Geneva, OH)
    When the Moon is Low - Not what I'd hoped
    I was more a than a little disappointed in this book, especially after reading Khaled Hosseini's endorsement. The story itself is compelling as well as timely, particularly as the world is in the midst of a crisis involving Syrian refugees. But the family's experiences were fairly tame compared to the horrors that real-life refugees live through every day. The writing in general was not very deep or detailed and felt a bit contrived, and characters were not well developed. The book ended without telling readers what happened to the family, which I don't mind in some books but found annoying in this one. I have not read Ms. Hashimi's first book, but on the basis of this book alone, I certainly would not compare this author with Khaled Hosseini.
  • Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)
    3 1/2 stars. Good but not deep enough
    I did really like the book and would certainly recommend it. However, perhaps the timing reading this book effected my review...these past weeks, the news is fulled with refugee stories. Heartbreakingly real-with pictures and real-time coverage of Syrian refugees making their way to Greece, Hungary, etc.-I couldn't help feel that this lovely book was missing something. Something that took me deeper into the characters and their struggle. On the other hand, reading this book while the Syrian refugee exodus was happening helped me understand the back story of the real people trying to make their way to safer land and all that they go through and the sacrifices they make to leave their countries behind. For that, I really thank the author.
  • Kathy H. (Richmond, VA)
    Admirable but
    boring...I feel so awful writing a mediocre review of When the Moon is Low, but it just didn't grab me. I found the writing stilted and a bit sophomoric, characters didn't grab me. That said, the story is good and demands to be told.
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