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, Literary Fiction

Reviews A Door in the Earth

  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Jen
    Middle Eastern stories always fascinate and often enrage me. The suppression and oppression of women. The lack of education. The survival living in a worn torn country.A door in the earth is like an eye in the sky. Parveen, an American, returns to her birth country of Afghanistan, after reading of an extraordinary man who opened a clinic for pregnant women in a small village.Following his words she seeks to help, learn and live like this author.H...
  • 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...
  • Julie Christine
    My ex-husband and I served briefly as Peace Corps volunteers in Chad in the early 90s. We were young newlyweds— 24 & 27 — but we'd lived abroad, we were fluent in one of Chad's official languages (French), we were trained as educators, he as a K-12 certificated teacher, me as an instructor of ESL. We left Chad after a few months, heartbroken, disillusioned, angry and bewildered. We quickly realized that as members of a well-intentioned but gr...
  • Canadian
    In her senior year at UC Berkeley, not quite a decade after the 911 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, Afghan-American anthropology student Parveen Shams happens upon a memoir, the best-selling Mother Afghanistan. In it, Dr. Gideon Crane, the prodigal son of medical missionary parents, explains his transformation from a scheming, money-obsessed physician criminally charged with Medicare fraud to a philanthropist dedicated to building women’s...
  • 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...
  • Tammy V
    Beautifully written story I had to keep reminding myself was fiction. The point being made in the book, showing not telling, is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.The road to the village in the book was not paved and in fact was rather dicey at the beginning of the story. By the end there was no road.An Afghan-American young woman, Parveen, is the protagonist and returns to Afganistan seeing herself as a rescuer/hero after readin...
  • Roberta
    Beautifully written, with wonderfully drawn characters, Waldman makes us take a compelling look at Americans' presence in Afghanistan. A young woman, Parveen, aspires to change the lives of Afghani women, realizing that not all change is welcomed nor celebrated. This novel will stay with you long after the final chapter.
  • Jan
    A recent college graduate travels to Afghanistan after being inspired by a Three Cups of Tea style memoir. As she did with The Submission, Waldman crafts a thoughtful, well-written story that explores complex issues and gains authority from her years reporting from the Middle East.
  • Bonnie Brody
    Parveen Shamsa is a U.C. Berkeley college student intellectually enamored of her anthropology professor, Dr. Bannerjee, and the author of a popular book by Gideon Crane's on his experiences providing health care to pregnant women in Afghanistan. Praveen herself is of Afghan ethnicity, her family having moved to the United States from Kabul when she was two years old. She is close to graduation from college and has discussions with her professor a...
  • Karen Raskin
    4.5 stars. A novel about the American presence in Afghanistan. Complications upon more complications, mostly due to cultural differences, the exigencies of war, and good intentions that have bad consequences. Very depressing but so well done.
  • Leslie Lehr
    This beautiful, compelling novel taught me more about war and politics and Afghanistan, than decades of reading the newspaper. Following the idealist young Berkeley grad on mission to serve the the people according to a bestselling book is pretty much the way I'd like to learn about all political conundrums. The hero's journey can be guessed, but the revelations that get her there are emotional, intellectual, and born of logical surprises. Walkma...
  • Beth
    How can truth come out from so many layered lies?
  • Laurie Lemson
    Thought provoking. I didn't like it at first because the protagonist 's naivete seemed unbelievable to me. Toward the end i think i realized it was intentional by the author. I recommend this book.
  • 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...
  • Kristin
    I absolutely loved Waldman's first book, The Submission, and was looking forward to any additional books she'd write. A Door in the Earth reads a lot like an anthropologist's memoir, detailing several months in Afghanistan, even though this is a novel. The story clearly reflects Waldman's extensive experience covering current events abroad for respected news organizations. The story focuses on the experiences of Parveen, an Afghani-American, who ...
  • Stephanie
    Nearly ten years ago I read Amy Waldman’s book The Submission, in which a Muslim woman submits a blind entry in a contest for a post-9/11 memorial, and the selection of her design sets off a complicated series of events. Ms. Waldman’s latest book, A Door in the Earth, revolves around an Afghan-American woman named Parveen Shams who finds herself searching for her life’s purpose as she prepares to graduate from college. Having grown up in an...
  • Verena
    A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman jolted me with some uncomfortable truths that are being duplicated in current news reports about the war in Afghanistan. Documents reveal that U. S. Officials misled Americans about promises of a successful outcome. This novel is a microcosm of the military mistakes and cover-ups deemed necessary to continue public support.Parveen is a 19 year-old American Afghani woman, a recent graduate of Berkeley, and ideali...
  • 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...