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Life as an expat wife in Afghanistan.

No More Mulberries - Mary Smith

This was quite an unusual slant on the Afghan novel, drawing on the author's experiences of living in Pakistan and Afghanistan, training female volunteer health workers.


Eve is Scottish by birth, but her first husband was Afghani and she had fallen in love with the country. When he is tragically killed, she finds herself adrift with a young son. Desperate to remain in Afghanistan, Eve is happy to accept the proposal of marriage from a young Afghan doctor, Iqbal, who takes her and her son to live in his village and set up a clinic for women.

The book opens with her battling his decision to stop her teaching English to two young boys because it might bring shame to his house. She misses the relative freedom she had become used to in town and finds living in his village very restrictive.

When an opportunity arises for her to attend a training camp as a translator, Eve is keen to go but Iqbal won't hear of it. He is overruled by the camp's director and steamrollered into letting her attend.


The book follows Eve's experiences at the camp and her subsequent decision to visit her first husband's grave. 

It is a fascinating insight into the lives of Afghan women, their lives and opinions. I'd really like to follow up with Mary's other book, the semi-autobiographical, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni, which concentrates more on the individuals that she met.