A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman

A Door in the Earth

For readers of Cutting for Stone and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a "breathtaking and achingly nuanced" (Kirkus, starred review) new novel from the author of the national bestseller The Submission about the journey of a young Afghan-American woman trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth. "One of the essential books of the post-9/11 era." --George Packer, author of The UnwindingParveen Shamsa, a college senior in search of a calling,...

Details A Door in the Earth

TitleA Door in the Earth
Release DateAug 27th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
GenreFiction, Contemporary, War, Cultural

Reviews A Door in the Earth

  • Elyse Walters
    For those who want a compelling read, a page turning intimate historical novel ...with elegant style and thoughtful insight....this is THAT NOVEL!I absolutely loved it!!!!! Amy Waldman’s unblinking look at medical patient care in Afghanistan-post-9/11 era, one of the poorest healthcare systems in the world - unfamiliar with western practices - is astounding and ambitious. We look at misunderstandings, mistreatment, and misdiagnosis. Amy Waldman...
  • Liz
    Parveen is a young Afghan-American who takes it into her head to go to Afghanistan to help the women in a rural community there. She’s inspired by a best seller, a memoir of a male American doctor who starts a women’s clinic in this same village. With no training, she is not met with the enthusiasm she expected. It’s immediately apparent how different life is here, from the most basic things to huge philosophical differences. At the beginni...
  • Cheri
    4.5 StarsBorn in Afghanistan, Parveen Shamsa left her country of birth when she was not yet two, along with her family. So young that she had little chance to be able to recall the place where she was born. They settled in the Bay Area of California, where her father took a series of demeaning jobs, and gradually their life improved to the point where Parveen was able to attend, and graduate from UC Berkeley.While at Berkeley, Parveen read a memo...
  • Angela M
    Just yesterday as I finished this book, I read an article that a meeting between the United States, the Afghan President and Taliban leaders was canceled. The continued presence of the US in Afghanistan is obviously a current issue. I can’t say that I’ve ever really had a good understanding of what happened there and what is happening today. It’s always seemed so complex to me. Amy Waldman, formerly a New York Times reporter who covered Afg...
  • Jill
    A Door in the Earth may very well be the book that Amy Waldman was born to write. Only someone who is intimately aware of the nuances of Afghanistan and its misunderstood societal landscape and complicated truths could ever have put together a book like this.Ironically, the impetus for this book is—a book. Parveen Shamsa, an American of Afghan descent, is galvanized to action after reading a bestseller from humanitarian activist Gideon Crane ca...
  • Constantine
    Rating: 4.0/5.0Genre:Literary/Contemporary Synopsis:Parveen Shamsa is an Afghan American girl, a recent college graduate who decides to go to Afghanistan (The land of her family & ancestors). This decision was taken after she read and got obsessed with the bestselling book "Mother Afghanistan", a memoir written by humanitarian Gideon Crane. When she arrives there she will make lots of discoveries about the book, the author and this whole war whic...
  • Karen Lewis
    One of my favorite novels of 2019. Amy Waldman opens a door into contemporary Afghanistan in this character-driven literary novel. The author worked as a journalist reporting for the New York Times from their South Asia bureau. Details of life and conflict when the Americans try to build a new road to a remote village ring with truth and heartbreak. Main character is recent UC Berkeley grad Parveen, who was born in Kabul but raised in California....
  • Lynne
    I really learned a lot about Afghanistan, our presence, the culture, and more from this excellent story! Many things to think about. A great deal of questions along with the information. Reminds me of the Kite Runner but with a different family. One of my favorite reads of 2019. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
  • Annie
    All fiction is lies. I’m comfortable with this. But when I read Amy Waldman’s brillian novel, A Door in the Earth, I realized that I have a rule about this that I didn’t know I had before. I’m comfortable with lies when I know they’re lies. I don’t like liars if I don’t know they’re liars. (This explains why, to this day, I still loathe James Frey and Greg Mortenson.) The protagonist of this novel, Parveen Shamsa, has to learn how...
  • Andrea
    4.5 [How I wish for that 1/2 star!]I Loved The Submission so was thrilled to be approved to read Amy Waldman's new book pre-pub. I was not disappointed.Post 9/11. Parveen, a female, 22-year old Afghan-American student in medical anthropology at UC Berkeley, is so moved by Gideon Crane's book Mother Afghanistan that she decides to travel to the remote village of Crane's memoir. She wants to assist in the efforts there to improve women's healthcare...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    Amy Waldman demonstrates the complexities of family, education, culture, religious traditionalism, and the role of media and the military in shaping perception in this captivating new novel centered on a remote village in Afghanistan. Parveen Shamsa is a recent college graduate of anthropology in Northern California, where she has lived as an Afghan émigré since age two. Now, in 2009, at age 21, she is passionately inspired by a memoir, Mother ...
  • Caroline Bertaud
    Young Afghan American Parveen Shamsa travels to her family’s land after recently graduating from college and reading the gut-wrenching bestseller Mother Afghanistan. She arrives to the poor-stricken and secluded village where Dr. Gideon Crane’s traumatic events happened years before, leading him to write the remarkable memoirs. As Parveen meets and befriends with the villagers, she soon discovers the discrepancies between the book and the fac...
  • Stephanie
    I loved this book. Parveen is a young Afghan/American who travels to Afghanistan after becoming absorbed in a book written by Crane and A Door in the Earth is the story of her travels and the people she meets. More than that it's a story about the shades of grey in each of us and in each person's story. No characters are all good or all bad and nothing is ever as it seems. I smiled at Parveen's American young adult behavior and attitudes and came...
  • Kate
    This book captured my heart. So compelling and eloquently written. A powerful, political, character driven novel focusing on post 9/11 patient and maternity care in Afghanistan. I really appreciate Waldman focusing on the female experience in Afghanistan. Such great characters. Her writing is beautiful and I loved the structure of the book. It flowed really well. The author had a first hand look at modern Afganistan so I felt this book offered an...
  • Kaye
    This lovely book is one of those instant-classic, both-timely-and-timeless works that crop up all too seldom. A Door in the Earth is timely because, as of 2019, the U.S. is still in Afghanistan (18 years on), still doing great harm with the best of intentions.It is timeless because my favorite of the book's various themes is the ongoing arrogance of Americans as we've visited long-lasting disasters on countless "simpler" cultures over the decades...
  • Laura Hill
    Thank you to Little, Brown and Company Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on August 27th, 2019.Writing: 4.5/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 5/5A beautifully written novel that captures the heart and complexity of life in rural Afghanistan. 21-year old Parveen is an Afghani American whose parents escaped the country in 1998. Inspired by the best-selling memoir “Moth...
  • Paula Lyle
    A stunning book about American foreign policy, in this particular case Afghanistan. America is generous in so many ways, but we seem to consistently make the same mistakes over and over.1 We don't listen to the people we want to help.2 We expect gratitude for everything we do, even when it's not wanted (see #1).Both of these problems occur throughout this story, in small and large scale. My one problem with the book is how long it takes the prota...
  • Diane Payne
    You learn a great deal about the dismal state of affairs with maternity care, and health care in general, in Afghanistan during the post 9/11 era. Waldman does a great job of placing readers into this remote village as we follow our young, idealistic main character, Parveen Shamsa, a recent graduate with a degree in medical anthropology, who sets off to volunteer in this rural village after being inspired by a fictional novel of this place. She l...
  • Ilyssa Wesche
    Excellent book about finding out your hero is flawed (to say the least), also a look into the Afghani culture and how women are treated (not always great), the US Army vs. the places they are supposedly helping, and digging into your own motives for do-gooding and your understanding of self and place. A lot to unpack but through a very relatable readable novel - I highly recommend. The end was a little undefined, and that was a bit disappointing.
  • Kate Vane
    Parveen is an Afghan-American anthropology student in California. Her progressive ideas are influenced by a driven and dynamic professor, but she becomes intrigued after reading a book by an equally charismatic American humanitarian, Gideon Crane.In Mother Afghanistan, Crane tells a redemptive tale of how his self-indulgent life travelling was turned around by the death of a woman while he was in Afghanistan. Fereshta died because she did not hav...
  • Janet
    I thoroughly enjoyed this thought-provoking story of a young idealistic Afghan-American girl, a remote village in rural Afghanistan, and their interactions with each other and with US army officials. It is the story of well intentioned motives, of cultural misunderstandings, and unforeseen consequences. Parveen, the protagonist, is the child of Afghan parents who emigrated to the United States when she was two. Her family continues to speak their...
  • Kathy
    Parveen Shams is an idealistic young Afghan-American with a brand new degree in anthropology and no desire to move home to her family and slip into the role of dutiful daughter waiting to be married. She latches on to Dr. Gideon Crane's memoir of his time in Afghanistan, and becomes inspired, almost obsessed, with following his footsteps and furthering the work helping Afghan women that he began. Against all odds, she succeeds in reaching the rem...
  • Kathy
    Maybe because I’ve learned a lot about the situation in Afghanistan over several decades, I found Parveen’s naïveté foolish and destructive. I had to keep reminding myself that she was young and idealistic and ignorant of so many things, but her behavior right up to the end of the book was so frustratingly short-sighted and harmful that I almost wanted her to die because of it. I could imagine the negative effects of all of her actions, tho...
  • Pamela
    I don't think I've ever dog-eared so many pages in a single book. I often found myself struck by Waldman's trenchant observations about America's flirtation with colonialism, our perverted notions of charity, our national obsession with storytelling and legacies. I haven't read The Submission, but I hear this is Waldman's métier. Reviews pointing out that the characters seem more like chess pieces than living, breathing humans have merit, but I'...
  • Nancy Motto
    "Was idealism an experiment whose variables couldn't be controlled?" Right from the start this book presents some really tough questions. Parveen, a 22 year old Afghan American woman is inspired by a book she reads about a do-gooder who went to Afghanistan to build a clinic for women in one village.She decides to travel to Afghanistan and stay with a family in that same village, armed with not a whole lot except her moral certainty that she is go...
  • Gina Moltz
    Just wow! This book had me thinking from page one. Parveen seems so young to be headed into a country that is at war. Could I send my daughter? Especially to Afghanistan, a country that treats women like second rate citizens. But the bigger question is how much are we as Americans helping the citizens of Afghanistan and how much of our help is what they really need. It was a constant dilemma for Parveen. I grew to love so many of the people she m...
  • Lisa
    I was disappointed in this novel. My expectations were high because her previous novel, Submission, was my favorite the year it was published. This had great potential. She exposed the 3 cups of tea guy, government contractors, and military who have exploited the Afghan people. She exposed the lies they told to benefit themselves. But the plot was more convoluted than necessary. The book slogged on with way too many words and subplots. I was terr...
  • Vickie
    Inspired by a book she has read, Mother Afghanistan, an Afghan-American Berkeley student travels to a small village in that country ostensibly to further her anthropological studies. Reality crashes in on the romanticized view she has formed from the book. A fascinating story, with a good depiction of the life and culture of an isolated Afghan village as well as the American military role there. I highly recommend this book.