Far from My Father's House, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Survival is hard in a land where no woman can live alone Layla is just thirteen when the men with the beards and guns burn down her beloved father's school and begin to terrorise the Swat valley region of Pakistan.

She has to flee, exchanging the tranquil beauty of the Himalayas for the squalor of a camp for refugees from the Taliban near Peshawar.

With her life torn apart by tragedy, Layla must choose between the old fashioned way of life with her family - or a journey into independence which could threaten her very survival.

Trying to find out what lies behind mysterious deaths at the camp is foreign correspondent Ellen Thomas.

As a strong woman in a man's world, Ellen is used to risking her life to uncover the truth.

United by the gentle schoolteacher who had risked his life to save books, the paths of Layla and Ellen collide in a common cause.




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FAR FROM MY FATHER’S HOUSE tells the story of the start of the war in Afghanistan from the view of the writer, an experienced foreign correspondent and expert on the South Asia region; from the perspective of Layla, a thirteen-year old girl and her family: and from the point of view of Frank, working for a humanitarian aid organisation in the extreme and impossible circumstances of a refugee camp where who knows whether one is an enemy or a friend.We begin in the Swat valley in the Himalayas, in the ancestral home of a close-knit Pakistani family - daughter Layla, father Ibrahim and sweet and gentle Mama, her handicapped sister Marva and Aunty Jamila, Uncle Hamid and his simple-minded son Adnan, handsome Saeed, old grandma and pretty little granddaughter Syma. All are forced to leave with the advent of the Taliban and their brutal invasion and destruction of this quiet valley. Days of agonising suffering lead them to the squalor and filth of a refugee camp - the only place of safety in that terrible ravaged land.Here we meet Jill (Ellen), the journalist, and Frank; hospital/aid workers Britta and Fatima; together with Taliban fighters; and the pseudo-benefactor and social-climbing Mr Khan and his aides. Here among the dirt, misery and hopelessness of the camp Jill weaves together the two stories - drawing on her experience not just to give a moving account of pity and despair but also a gripping and spellbinding tale of mystery and suspense which involves every character and keeps the reader avidly page turning to the very end.If you want an education in the intricacies of the Afghan war from several different and interesting standpoints; if you enjoy drama and suspense; if you love a good read with convincing and well-drawn individuals … you will be disappointed should you miss this excellent offering from Jill McGivering.