THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL
- Questions for Discussion -

.1. Did you find this book pleasant? A “feel good” book?
.....Would you like to vacation in Kabul?
.....Would you like to shop there?
.....Or did you think they should all just take cyanide?

.2. What did you learn about life in Afghanistan under the Taliban?

.3. Did you find the plot realistic?

.4. Did you like Atiq? His ailing wife? Mohsem? His beautiful wife?

.5. Why did Mohsem's wife tell Mohsem that
.....she never wanted to see him again?

.6. Have you ever fallen in love the way Atiq did
....(and loose your senses)?

.7. What would you do if the Taliban took control of our country?

.8. Why does Mohsen experience joy
.....when his stone strikes the condemned woman?

.9. Was Mohsen a wus or was he kind?

10. Why does Zunaira give in and go for a walk with Mohsen?

11. What is the significance of Zunaira's decision
......never again to remove her burqa??
......Is it a sign of defeat or defiance?

12. Do readers also need to modify
......or even suspend ordinary judgment
......in evaluating the characters and events in the novel?

13. What qualities do the two wives, Musarrat and Zunaira share?
......What are the differences between them?

14. In what ways do the secondary characters,
......Mirza, Nazeesh, and Qassim,
......expand your understanding of Afghan culture?

15. What was Musarrat trying to tell her husband, Atiq?

16. Can there be intimacy between husband & wife
......under the Taliban's rule?

17. In the preface, Khadra writes that the story about to unfold is
...."like the water lily that blooms in a stagnant swamp".
......Which character represents the lily?
......Despite its darkness,
......is The Swallows of Kabul ultimately a novel about hope?

18. The author, Mohammed Moulessehoul, was an Algerian army officer
......who originally wrote under his wife's name, Yasmina Khadra,
......to avoid military censorship.
......Why does he continue to use the feminine penname,
......although he has retired from the army and now lives in France?
......What does this suggest about his views and on his role as a writer?