When the author first arrived in Kabul in the spring of 2006-five years after the Taliban government was overthrown-she found a city both familiar and unknown. Falling in with poets, archaeologists and film-makers, she begins to explore the city and, over the course of several returns, discovers a Kabul quite different from the one she had expected.
Shadow City is an account of these expeditions, a personal and meditative portrait of a city we know primarily in terms of conflict. With Khan as our guide, we move from the glitter of wedding halls to the imperilled beauty of a Buddhist monastery, slip inside a beauty salon and wander through book markets. But as these walks take us deeper into the city, it becomes clear that to talk of Kabul’s various wars in the past tense is a mistake.
Part reportage and part reflection, this is an elegiac prose map of Kabul’s hidden spaces-and the cities that we carry within us.
Taran N. Khan
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