Patricia McArdle worked as a diplomat, stationed overseas for her career serving in various countries. One of my uncles just retired from his nearly thirty year career as a U.S. diplomat and I have long been interested in this lifestyle. McArdle's book, although a novel, is somewhat based on her own life.
Angela has been sent to Afghanistan by the U.S. Embassy. She is not excited about the assignment at all, and is counting down her year there. As the lone female in this post Angela is lonely and not welcomed by many of the men. Although it happened nearly twenty years before, Angela is still dealing with the death of her husband Tom - also a diplomat- who was killed when they were stationed in Beirut. She continues to grieve for him and the child she miscarried just days later.
McArdle has included a lot in this story. While I am not sure I understand the ins and outs of Angela's job or other details, I enjoyed the story immensely. Angela befriends a young Afghan woman who is working to gain rights for women in the country, and begins thinking of a way that she can make a difference in the lives of these people. There is also a bit of suspense as Angela hides her ability to speak Dari in order to determine who is making money from growing poppies.
As the year passes, Angela does find a few friends in this country, and when her year is nearly up her life's twists and turns are perhaps not surprising, but very believable.
Farishta has been on my radar for a long time. It is the winner of the 2010 Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize for Fiction from Amazon, and is definitely worthy of the distinction.