Author: Deborah Rodriguez
as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there — thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
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.
Brimming with Deborah Rodriguez’s remarkable gift for depicting the nuances of life in Kabul, and filled with vibrant characters that readers will truly care about, A Cup of Friendship is the best kind of fiction—full of heart yet smart and thought-provoking.
The book has basically five main female characters, who by chance, fate or choice end up in a “little coffee shop of Kabul”.
This coffee shop is a sanctuary for these women, and the contrast between the life outside and the life inside is quite beautifully shown. As a reader, we are first introduced to Yazmina, who is pregnant, but has just lost her husband to an accident. Even though the child is her husband’s she is labeled as a “lose woman” just because the husband is not in the picture to certify the legitimacy of her claim. She is sold off to a group of men as her uncle could not repay his loan, and it is by fate that Yazmina enters the Coffee Shop and starts working there.
I loved Halaajan and her son Ahmed’s characterization. It was amusing to see a modern mother and her ultraconservative son.
This book is a regular contemporary stand alone novel, but, it has some very interesting and unconventional parallel story lines that run throughout the book.
The book edition that I have, also comes with fun Afghani recipes as well as Author Interview, so it was great to know the background and get to know the author more.
Overall pick up this book when you are in a mood for some light (but interesting) feel good book.