Title: A Cup of Friendship
Author: Deborah Rodriguez
Narrator: Mozhan Marno
Publication Year: 2011
Pages: 540 (audio length: 9 hours 30 minutes)
Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com
From the cover:
After hard luck and some bad choices, Sunny has finally found a place to call home — it just happens to be in the middle of a war zone. The thirty-eight-year-old American’s pride and joy is the Kabul Coffee House, where she brings hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through its doors. She’s especially grateful that the busy days allow her to forget Tommy, the love of her life, who left her in pursuit of money and adventure.
Working alongside Sunny is the maternal Halajan, who vividly recalls the days before the Taliban and now must hide a modern romance from her ultratraditional son — who, unbeknownst to her, is facing his own religious doubts. Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment.
When Yazmina, a young Afghan from a remote village, is kidnapped and left on a city street pregnant and alone, Sunny welcomes her into the café and gives her a home — but Yazmina hides a secret that could put all their lives in jeopardy. As this group of men and women discover that there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they’ll form an unlikely friendship that will change not only their own lives but the lives of an entire country.
Much like her earlier work, Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil, Rodriguez does a great job of getting into the details of expat life in A Cup of Friendship. She also does a good job of really showing the reader what everyday Afghanis live like, in opposition to what most of the world – especially Americans – are shown in the media.
Aside from the cultural aspect, what Rodriguez really does best is illustrate the depth of people’s lives. In this book, she does a very good job of describing the relationships between characters. They are each complex and relate a different aspect of the story, and yet they all complement each other. I found myself really hoping that everything would work out for them, because even when something less positive was said or done, the intentions were never bad.
A Cup of Friendship is primarily a feel-good story about a group of friends living and working in Kabul, who deal with a series of events that illustrate the pitfalls of their place of residence. If you’re looking for a bit of insight into the lives of Afghanis or expats, or simply like a good story, pick this one up. It’s got it all – love, kidnapping, betrayal, sacrifice, but most of all, friendship – and it’s a good read.
You can find other posts in the series by clicking on the image to the right, or by taking a look at the schedule of posts and reviews.