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A Door in the Earth

A Door in the Earth

For readers of Cutting for Stone and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a new novel from the author of the national bestseller The Submission, about an idealistic young Afghan-American woman trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth.

Twenty-two-year-old Parveen is an Afghan-American anthropology student at UC Berkeley, adrift between the separate pulls of a charismatic professor whose contempt for Western cultural narratives runs deep, Afghan immigrant parents who have never quite found their footing in America’s strange orbit, and the illicit secret life of young Afghan Americans trying to live normal lives in America. When she comes upon a best-selling book called Mother Afghanistan, a memoir by humanitarian Gideon Crane that has been turned into a sort of bible for American engagement abroad, she’s inspired. Galvanized by the author’s experience and bent on following in his footsteps, Parveen travels to a remote village in the land of her birth to join with his charitable foundation.

When she arrives, however, Gideon’s clinic is not a light in the war-torn darkness but a decrepit, unstaffed tomb, the shadowy remains of the place she’d read about. Bit by bit, the fabrications in Gideon’s account are revealed, until the foundation on which Parveen chose to make her life-changing pilgrimage crumbles beneath her. Meanwhile, various forces on both sides of the perpetual conflict are amassing, eager to use Crane’s words and Parveen’s presence to their own ends. When a dramatic bombing occurs, Parveen must decide whether her loyalties lie with the villagers or with the U.S. military-and, by extension, America.

A Door in the Earth is a piercingly intelligent story about power, perspective, and idealism, a taut, propulsive novel that brushes aside the dust of America’s longest-standing conflict and reveals the complicated truths beneath.
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Genre: Fiction / Fiction / Political

On Sale: August 27th 2019

Price: $24.98

ISBN-13: 9781549173431

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"Amy Waldman brings her fierce intelligence and breathtaking descriptive powers to bear in this brilliant, unsentimental novel about what happens when Americans go adventuring abroad. The author's vast experience in the region is evident in the vividness with which she creates the social world of an Aghan mountain village. But the miracle of A Door in the Earth is that a novel which tackles such urgent and necessary questions of politics, history, and the compromises of war can also be so unflaggingly searing and gripping, and bring its characters so indelibly to life."—Nell Freudenberger, Whiting and PEN/Malamud Award-winning author of The Newlyweds
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"With A Door in the Earth, Amy Waldman more than confirms the great talent that she showed in her first novel, The Submission. A Door in the Earth plays on true events in Afghanistan -- a country Waldman knows well from her career as a journalist -- but wholly reimagines them in a way that raises urgent questions about the ethics of 'saving' people we don't know. I haven't read anything more acute about the consequences of good American intentions sent abroad. Waldman's moral vision, spare and unsparing prose style, and feel for the way history upsets settled lives all make A Door in the Earth one of the essential books of the post-9/11 era."—George Packer, National Book Award winner for The Unwinding
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"Affecting...Nervy and absorbing...Writing in limber, detailed prose, Waldman has created a choral novel with a big historical backdrop and pointillist emotional detail...It is Ms. Waldman's ability to depict grief and anger that lends The Submission its extraordinary emotional ballast."—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
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"A masterful debut...Dazzlingly crafted...Waldman unspools her story with the truth-bound grit of a seasoned journalist and the elegance of a born novelist."—Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
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"Moving...Eloquent...A coherent, timely, and fascinating examination of a grieving America's relationship with itself."—Chris Cleave, Washington Post
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"Elegantly written and tightly plotted...In these unnerving times, in which Waldman has seen facts take the shape of her fiction, a historian's novel at once lucid, illuminating and entertaining is a necessary and valuable gift."—Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
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