When Indian journalist Taran Khan arrives in Kabul in 2006, she imagines it as a return – a journey to the land her forebears hailed from centuries ago. She finds an unexpected guide in her grandfather who – despite never visiting the city – knows it intimately through books and stories, poetry and myth. With his voice in her head, and falling in with poets, doctors and other Kabulis, Khan uncovers a place quite different from the one she anticipated. Her wanderings reveal a fragile city in a state of flux: stricken by near-constant war, but flickering with the promise of peace, a shape-shifting place governed by age-old codes but experimenting with new modes of living. These walks take her to the unvisited tombs of the dead, and to the land of the living: the booksellers, archaeologists, intrepid film-makers and entrepreneurs who are remaking and rebuilding this ancient 3000-year-old city.
‘A fabulous piece of writing . . . I recommend it unreservedly’ WILLIAM DALRYMPLE
‘A brilliant book’ CHRISTINA LAMB, author of Farewell Kabul
One of the first things I was told when I arrived in Kabul was never to walk…
When journalist Taran Khan arrives in Kabul, she uncovers a place that defies her expectations. Her wanderings with other Kabulis reveal a fragile city in a state of flux: stricken by near-constant war, but flickering with the promise of peace; governed by age-old codes but experimenting with new modes of living.
Her walks take her to the unvisited tombs of the dead, and to the land of the living – like the booksellers, archaeologists, film-makers and entrepreneurs who are remaking this 3,000-year-old city. And as NATO troops begin to withdraw from the country, Khan watches the cycle of transformation begin again.
**Winner of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award 2021**
**Winner of the Tata Literature Live First Book Award for Non-Fiction 2020**
‘Powerfully evocative’ Kapka Kassabova
‘A wonderful journey’ Atiq Rahimi
‘Khan illuminates Kabul’s life-affirming humanity’ TLS