My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Nadia Hashimi’s The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a devastating lens on the horrors of being a woman in Afghanistan, plain and simple. Not the sort of novel one picks up for a light afternoon read, Hashimi, while retaining literary integrity, reveals the myriad daily, devastating details of the absolute subjugation, ownership and commodification of the female sex within this patriarchal, warlord society which is governed by a bastardization of Islam. The novel is relentless.
Hashimi employs a simple narrative style, without embellishment, allowing actions to carry her message. Her characterization is very strong. Her environmental detail is seamless, weaving into the narrative without arresting pauses.
Altogether a novel you should read if for no other reason than to expand your understanding of a culture alien and frightening to Western thinking.