Sparks like stars A novel

Nadia Hashimi

eAudio - 2021

An Afghan American woman returns to Kabul to learn the truth about her family and the tragedy that destroyed their lives in this brilliant and compelling novel from the bestselling author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, The House Without Windows, and When the Moon Is Low. Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zalmani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan's thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sar...dar Daoud, Afghanistan's progressive president, and Sitara's beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara's world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara's entire family. Only she survives. Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name-Aryana Shepherd-and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured. New York, 2018: Forty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana's world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room-a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana's fury and desire for answers-and, perhaps, revenge. Realizing that she cannot go on without finding the truth, Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul-a battleground between the corrupt government and the fundamentalist Taliban-and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost. Bold, illuminating, heartbreaking, yet hopeful, Sparks Like Stars is a story of home-of America and Afghanistan, tragedy and survival, reinvention and remembrance, told in Nadia Hashimi's singular voice.

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Online Access
Instantly available on hoopla.
Cover image
[United States] : HarperAudio 2021.
Physical Description
1 online resource (1 audio file (11hr., 57 min.)) : digital
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Main Author
Nadia Hashimi (author)
Corporate Author
hoopla digital (-)
Other Authors
Mozhan Marnò, 1980- (narrator)
Review by Booklist Review

In Afghanistan in 1978, 10-year-old Sitara spends as much time at the royal palace as she does at home thanks to her father's role as an advisor to the president. Sitara's happy world is abruptly destroyed one night in April when dissidents storm the palace and execute the president and his family, along with Sitara's parents and younger brother. A guard saves Sitara from certain death, first bringing her to his home and then foisting her on an American diplomat named Antonia Shepherd. Antonia and her mother, Tilly, protect Sitara and plan to get her out of Afghanistan by using the identity of her older sister, Aryana, who was born in the United States and died as a baby. After several unexpected twists, Antonia ends up raising Sitara and providing her with stability and love so that she can put the trauma of her childhood behind her--until three decades later, when Sitara, now a successful oncologist, comes face-to-face with a figure from her past. Hashimi's latest novel for adults, following A House without Windows (2016), is both thrilling and moving.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A woman grapples with traumatic memories of the 1978 Afghanistan coup in Hashimi's intimate if lackluster latest (after A House Without Windows). Precocious Sitara Zalmani, 10, spends her days in Kabul's presidential palace, where her father is an adviser to the president. During the coup, Sitara's family is murdered in front of her before a palace guard, Shair Nabi, whisks her to safety and foists her off on Antonia Shephard, an American embassy worker. Antonia, along with her mother, hatches a plan to use Sitara's American-born, deceased sister's birth certificate to bring her to the U.S. But things fall apart at customs, and Sitara winds up in a foster home. By 2008, Sitara, now Aryana, is an oncological surgeon in New York City and has reunited with Antonia. Her boyfriend, Adam, doesn't know her full history and tries to tap her for help with fund-raising for his political career just as Shair unexpectedly shows up as a patient. With her relationship deteriorating and Shair's reappearance bringing memories to the surface, Aryana returns to Afghanistan with Antonia in an attempt to find some peace. While Hashimi rushes through Aryana's intervening years in the U.S., and the plot is fairly predictable, she does a good job developing Aryana's character. Still, this one fails to leave a mark. Agent: Helen Heller, the Helen Heller Agency. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Ten-year-old Sitara Zalmani is living comfortably in late 1970s Kabul, with her father a key aide to progressive president Sardar Daoud, when a Communist coup leads to Daoud's assassination and the death of Sitari's entire family. She's saved by a guard named Shair, but years later, as a successful surgeon in America, must consider whether he was responsible for those awful deaths. From the best-selling author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

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