Excerpt from The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Other Side of the Sky

A Memoir

by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary

The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary X
The Other Side of the Sky by Farah Ahmedi, Tamim Ansary
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 256 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 2006, 256 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


At first the ship swung slowly. It didn't go very far in either direction. But gradually, the boat went faster and swung farther. Each swing took our seats higher, and when the boat reached the top of its swing, it seemed to pause. For an instant I felt weightless. Then, when it swung the other way, I felt as if I was falling fast. My heart came into my throat, and my throat dropped down into my stomach. It was scary but exhilarating, and I was loving that feeling of speed and of the wind in my hair.

But then at the peak of the ride, just as the boat reversed direction and our seats began to fall, the machinery sent off some kind of spark. And when that spark flashed in my eyes, it triggered something. I dropped through a trapdoor into some other reality. Suddenly, I wasn't in America on a carnival ride. I was on the ground, looking up into the sky and the sun. I had fallen out of that day and into a moment ten years in the past. Above me what I saw was that ring of faces, the people who had gathered around to gawk at me after the land mine went off-it was as real to me as the clouds overhead.

So I started screaming, right there on the Gondola ride, just like I did on that terrible day. "Why don't you help me? Why are you all just looking at me like that? Help me, someone help me!"

It was that scene, exactly. I tried to get up, as I had that day. I wanted to be whole again. I scrambled to get away from the horror of what had happened-except that I was not really on the ground in Afghanistan. I was at a carnival in Wheaton, Illinois, on the Gondola, struggling to get out of my seat on a ride that was going a hundred miles an hour, back and forth, up and down. Thank God Alyce was there by my side, as she has been by my side so often in these last few years. Thank God she knew at once what I was about to do, and she flung her arms around me and kept me in my place and shook me and called into my ear, "Wake up, Farah! Wake up!"

I came back to consciousness. The ride was still going, and I knew vaguely where I was, but only through the fog of a terror that I couldn't blink away. I yelled, "Stop the ride, stop the ride!"

But of course they didn't stop the ride. They never stop the ride.

I screamed, but my screams attracted no attention. Everyone was screaming. They expect people to scream on carnival rides. I was doing nothing newsworthy. If I had managed to get out of my seat and over the restraining bar, yes, then someone would have noticed. If I had managed to jump from the Gondola ride at the peak of its motion, yes, I would have made the news: ONE-LEGGED AFGHAN GIRL JUMPS FROM CARNIVAL RIDE. But it didn't happen because Alyce was there to save my life--but then, Alyce has done that in a lot of ways, big and small, since we met two years ago.

The ride finally slowed down, and the world around me changed from a blur of motion to a field of happy crowds enjoying a summer day. I said, "Oh my goodness, what happened?" I looked around and said, "Oh my goodness! I'm not in Afghanistan. It's not that day. I'm in America." Nothing was broken, I was told. The machine was supposed to make sparks.

Even now, I wonder what triggered my flashback at that carnival. Was it the heart-swelling sensation of falling? Was it the light that flashed in my eyes and then morphed into the sunlight of that awful day, the sunlight that shone through that ring of horrified faces? I wish I knew so I could get ready for the next time or avoid tripping another switch that turns some ordinary moment into a horrible waking dream.

Nowadays I don't dream about my leg very much. It's not like those first few weeks or even months after it was amputated, when I used to dream that I was riding a bicycle or running around in our yard in Kabul or just walking.

Text copyright (c) 2005 by Nestegg Productions LLC.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.