Monday 5 February 2018

The Finest Supermarket in Kabul

Finished January 26
The Finest Supermarket in Kabul by Ele Pawelski

This novel is based around a real event of a bombing. There are three sections to the story, each with a different speaker. The first section is by a young Afghan man, Merza, who has recently been elected to the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan's National Assembly. After much delay, it looks like the Assembly is going to meet and Merza is excited, but also nervous. His family is not supportive of his political role, with his father wanting him to join the construction firm that he runs. Merza's sister is one of the few close to him that does support him. Merza is out and about on this day, meeting with an advisor and running errands. He plans to visit the supermarket as one of his stops.
The second speaker is Alec, an American journalist. Alec has spent the last three months embedded with the US army on the front lines in Helmand Province, and wants a change of perspective. His editor, Eric, hasn't sanctioned this move, but Alec thinks he can come up with a story to persuade Eric to allow it. He makes contact with other journalists, explores a little on his own, sets up a possible interview with a young teen he meets, and is among the first journalists on the scene after the bombing.
The third speaker is Elyssa, a Canadian lawyer who is on assignment in Kabul with the UN to train female judges and assist them in forming a national organization. She's been in Kabul a few months, and thinks that things are going well. She moved from a hotel to a small but secure guesthouse a couple of months ago after a hotel bombing. She socializes with many of the NGO workers, and has recently been getting close to one of them, Nate. On this day, she has a few things to do, including go to the UN compound to use the gym there, pick up some dessert to bring to a dinner she's going to that evening, and stop at a supermarket for a few things.
As we see each of these people go about their day, leading up to their visits to the supermarket and the encounters they have with locals and foreigners, we see how quickly normal activities can lead to tragedy and a new way of looking at the world around them.


  1. I had never heard of this book or the author but The Finest Supermarket in Kabul made it to my TBR list today. I am very intrigued.

    And I'm always happy to read works by Canadian authors. :-)

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