A Fort of Nine Towers

fort_of_nine_towersA Fort of Nine Towers - Qais Akbar Omar - UK Version

What are reviewers saying about the Fort of Nine Towers?

New York Times:
Mind-boggling yet matter-of-fact, “A Fort of Nine Towers” is the memoir of a childhood in ’90s Afghanistan — a riveting story of war as seen through a child’s eyes and summoned from an adult’s memory. More

Washington Post

In a brief afterword to “A Fort of Nine Towers,” a powerful coming-of-age tale set in Afghanistan, Qais Akbar Omar offers a warning: “I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them.” Beautifully written, with the pacing and suspense of a novel, his memoircontains moments when the grief becomes almost too difficult to bear. Nonetheless, his richly detailed account of growing up in Afghanistan under the warlords and then the Taliban is deeply fulfilling, remarkable not least because he lived to tell the tale. More

The Economist

Mr Omar’s new book, “A Fort Of Nine Towers“, is a poetic, funny and terrifying memoir of life in Kabul between the Soviet Army’s exit and the Taliban’s retreat. He describes his family’s attempts to flee Afghanistan, their time living among Kuchi nomads and in caves by the Bamiyan Buddha statues (which the Taliban famously destroyed in 2001). His family then returns to a Kabul of rockets, capricious snipers and civil war as armed factions fight for power. Mr Omar has written a book of hellish encounters—he recounts meeting predatory Talibs, and a fighter who grows roses in severed heads—and familial love. More


We see the worst and best of people in Qais Akbar Omar’s lucid, moving English-language memoir of the grim civil war followed by Taliban rule in Afghanistan in the 1990s….The graciousness of Afghanistan‘s ancient civilization is as evident in Omar’s portrait as the frightening speed with which a civil society can collapse. More

 The Daily Beast:

A carpet seller tells the extraordinary story of his family’s exodus from their home in Kabul when he was a young boy and their subsequent odyssey through Afghanistan, as they see the Taliban and the Americans come and go. More

Good Reads:

The surprising, stunning book that took the publishing world by storm: a coming-of-age memoir of unimaginable perils and unexpected joys, steeped in the rhythms of folk tales and poetry, that is as unforgettable as it is rare–a treasure for readers. More

Philadelphia Inquirer

At a time when American troops are leaving Afghanistan and U.S. officials are trying to talk to the Taliban, I recommend that you read a book called A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. The book, by a young Afghan, Qais Akbar Omar, is an extraordinary memoir that portrays his coming of age during a time of madness. More

Denver Post

“A Fort of Nine Towers” by Qais Akbar Omar is a beautifully written memoir about growing up in Afghanistan during the time of the civil wars, and the Taliban—one of the few books written about Afghanistan by an Afghan.

UK Independent

…So he explains it all to us, from how the Russian invasion came to his door when he was a nine-year-old, transforming his liberal, educated and wealthy world into a battleground, right up to the 2001 invasion…Among Omar’s many achievements, his greatest is in capturing a child’s world without undercutting the depth in his book. More

New York Post

A story of survival and resistance in Afghanistan, from a native man who came of age during the pre-9/11 civil war… A rare insider view of how the Afghan people endured the violent final decade of the 20th century. More