No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

Lizanne lost in a good book


No more Mulberries is a novel which completely changed my hazy, ignorant view of Afghanistan.  Miriam, its narrator, describes life in the 1990s as a “foreign” wife of an Afghan doctor in the small village of Sang-i-Sia.  Her frank account of her commitment to the country and determination to make her marriage work, despite cultural differences and the troubles of civil war, make you feel that you are reading a letter from a close friend.

The book gradually reveals that Miriam was originally Margaret, a Scottish midwife, whose meeting with an Afghan student lead her to visiting the country and conversion to Islam.  Her story is sad and she struggles with the practicalities of everyday life with few western luxuries, but the central conflict is the role of women in Afghanistan.  In her job she tries to improve the lot of women with no education but she also has friends…

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