The Finest Supermarket in Kabul
by: Ele Pawelski
Publication Date: October 30, 2017
Genre: Novella/Terrorism/Inspired by True Events
Kabul, Afghanistan January 28, 2011.
Merza, a freshly minted Parliamentarian receives ominous threats after he wins his seat. Alec, an American journalist, flies from Kandahar without his editor’s permission to chronicle daily life in the capital. Elyssa, a Canadian human rights lawyer in Kabul to train female magistrates, is distracted by unwanted attention from a male justice. On this grey, wintry Friday, all three are embroiled in a dramatic and savage bombing. Inspired by true events and places, The Finest Supermarket in Kabul follows Merza, Alec and Elyssa as their idealistic and visionary hopes for Afghanistan are deeply challenged in the aftermath.
The Finest Supermarket in Kabul is best described as three intertwined stories. What works really well is choosing these characters because one of them is a Parliamentarian, giving the readers an inside scoop of Kabul and the political struggles there. At the same time, having the outside eyes be the opposite side of an American journalist which also gives us the outside perspective while the final one acts somewhat more of a middle ground. They live there for longer duration and know the lay of the land but is still an expat. Their stories definitely are carefully intertwined as the bombing occurs as each person is at a different location and they all react differently but in their timelines still manage to brush past one of the characters in the process. It gives a continuity and fluidity to a thought with taking the time to add that detail.
The stories itself are engaging and intriguing especially as there is a different perspective so the landscape of the lead-up to the actual bombing event also is well-paced. Perhaps, because of this, it has the tightly knit story (or stories) making it a page turner as there isn’t time to add fluff in the middle, and that is fine because the stories being told doesn’t really need it. The story itself is as direct as its characters. At the same time, what makes it a great read is the descriptive nature used it, highlighting the innocent and the unknown and the helplessness for all those involved and the uncertainty of whether they are as well. On another hand, the three stories intertwine here and emphasize a further point that everyone has a different point of view and will be caught up in a different way whether it is physically being there, witnessing its aftermath or even from the sidelines. There’s a lot of thought in the details in The Finest Supermarket in Kabul and that makes all the elements put together a worthwhile one to check out.
Goodreads: 4 out of 5
About the Author
Ele Pawelski has lived in Afghanistan, South Sudan, Bosnia, Kenya, Uzbekistan and Kosovo. She has climbed in the Himalayas, walked the Camino and hiked in Newfoundland. Now living in urban Toronto with her husband, she’s always planning for her next travel adventure. Her stories have appeared in magazines, journals and newspapers. The Finest Supermarket in Kabul is her first novella.
3 print copies of The Finest Supermarket in Kabul and 5 $20 Amazon GCs (North America Only)
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