Cultural plots always add interesting knowledge to the reader. When they are presented in the midst of complicated life stories, they are able to hold attention completely, and often cut the reader's heart.
In The Pearl That Broke The Shell, Nadia Hashimi it presents two heavy stories about strong women who fight as they can against scolding their sex. Located in Afghanistan, the work mixes the plots, set in different times, while telling the historical events of those times.
First, we know Rahima. Daughter of an Opium addict and brother of 4 women, her family suffers from not having a son. Without male help at home, since the war-traumatized husband currently lives on drugs, his mother is forced to resort to Afghan posh bacha, making Rahima behave like a boy until he reached puberty and then start thinking about marriage. Thus, she will be able to attend school, help with shopping, work part time and everything else that only male people are able to do in the country.
In parallel, we see the life of Shekiba, Rahima's great-great-grandmother who initially gave the idea of Bacha Posh. As a child she had an accident with hot oil and her face was disfigured. As if the prejudice she suffered because of her appearance was not enough, she lost her entire family to a cholera outbreak and had to take care of the house alone until she was found by relatives and started being sent from house to house as a maid.
Intertwining these two stories, the book shows the difficulty of this culture, which completely demeans women. With several daily details, the author presents how people behave in the face of people's differences, such as physical defects, and some internal curiosities about the country.
Nashimi was not born in Afghanistan, but he is a descendant and his family maintained several of Afghan customs. She did several researches, talked to women in the country and, together with the knowledge acquired through her relatives, created this work that ends up narrating, through fictional characters, the reality of many women.
With heart-wrenching stories and interesting facts about the country's culture, The Pearl That Broke The Shell it is an interesting work to hold attention from beginning to end.