99 Nights in Logar

99 Nights in Logar

by Jamil Jan Kochai


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“Funny, razor-sharp, and full of juicy tales that feel urgent and illicit . . . the author has created a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.” —New York Times Book Review

“More than well crafted; it’s phenomenal. . . . Kochai’s book has a big heart.” The Guardian

A dog on the loose. A boy yearning to connect to his family's roots. A country in the midst of great change. And a vibrant exploration of the power of stories—the ones we tell each other and the ones we find ourselves in.

Twelve-year-old Marwand's memories from his previous visit to Afghanistan six years ago center on his contentious relationship with Budabash, the terrifying but beloved dog who guards his extended family's compound in the rural village of Logar. But eager for an ally in this place that is meant to be "home," Marwand misreads his reunion with the dog and approaches Budabash the way he would any pet on his American suburban block—and the results are disastrous: Marwand loses a finger, and Budabash escapes into the night.

Marwand is not chastened and doubles down on his desire to fit in here. He must get the dog back, and the resulting search is a gripping and vivid adventure story, a lyrical, funny, and surprisingly tender coming-of-age journey across contemporary Afghanistan that blends the bravado and vulnerability of a boy's teenage years with an homage to familial oral tradition and calls to mind One Thousand and One Nights yet speaks with a voice all its own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525559191
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/22/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 264,634
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jamil Jan Kochai was born in Pakistan and grew up in the United States. He has a master's in English from University of California, Davis and a bachelor's degree in English from California State University, Sacramento. He is currently attending the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been published in A Public Space and The Capilano Review.

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99 Nights in Logar 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Peter Donnelly More than 1 year ago
99 Nights in Logar is a well-crafted novel where the main plot thread is entwined with multiple tales, incidents, interesting characters, enthralling history and a harsh location. There is a common sense of atmosphere from many books based in Afghanistan and it’s probably due to the wonderful writings that depict a culture always guarded against occupying forces and the imposing landscape of the country. The native occupants of the country have their own myths and culture that feed great storytelling. Marwad is a 12-year-old boy who has just returned from the US after 6 years and has broadened his experiences yet there are life lessons still to be learnt. He is reintegrated into the wider family circle of aunts, uncles and cousins, and their life within the extended family's compound. Marwad feels guilty of how he abused the guard dog Budabash and his last engagement with the dog left him losing the top of his finger and the dog escaped. Marwad and his friends Gul, Dawood and Zia set off to find Budabash in an adventure that crosses paths with American soldiers and Taliban, and is regaled with interesting tales, often with a dark sense of humour. I find it exciting to read about regions I may never visit and get a glimpse into a new culture and lifestyle. I enjoyed many of the tales told here, however, after a while I became less interested and just wanted day 99 to arrive. In a very strange and confusing way, the publishers tried desperately on a number of counts to damage the readers’ experience. Firstly there are the formatting issues which resulted in me giving up a few times and it took quite a while to finish this book. Secondly, the untranslated story of Watak is just dead text for me, and the use of unfamiliar terms were effectively blanks. I feel I should be rating this story much higher but I’m just worn down with the physical effort of reading this disjointed text. I would like to thank Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in return for an honest review. For future reference, it is counterproductive providing book texts in this state.