Over the Rainbow, Hardback
1.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


It is September 2009, Ramadan and the eve of Afghanistan's first 'democratic' elections when young American Malone, pilot for an aid airline, does Fatima Hamza the favour of flying her out of Kabul to Bamiyan, while his surgeon wife Kim heads south to Kandahar.

The beguiling, Oxford-educated Pashtun Fatima has left Pakistan to rediscover the country she comes from, she tells him, to retrace the places that were important to her spy-chief father, ex-military man and writer with a disturbing gift of prophecy. For both Kim and Malone, the foray into that dangerous territory is to become a prolonged adventure, their former lives receding as they lose touch with one another and enter the world of the enemy.

Each is to witness the horror of an air raid, and each is to come face-to-face with the Taliban.

They will glimpse hell, but paradise, too, and be changed.

In this powerful novel, Paul Pickering gives a human face to the conflict in Afghanistan, capturing the magical quality of a land and its people.




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Bizarre story set in Afghanistan now (i.e with war and chaos); Malone and his wife are young aid workers. Malone meets and is captivated by Fatima, Oxford-educated daughter of the former head of Pakistan intelligence services. When she films a cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and it is leaked, she and Malone have to go on the run - and what's Kim up to in Kandahar.This felt like it was written on an acid trip. On the one hand, the portrayal of aid worker life in Afghanistan is interesting, gritty, bleak but appears well researched; on the other hand, filming a cover of Somewhere Over the Rainbow in downtown bombed-out Kabul? Everything in which Fatima was involved was incredible. The whirlwind romance between Malone and Kim and the fundamentalist religious aspect of their marriage didn't really make a lot of sense either.