Azaranica is a non-biased news aggregator on Hazaras. The main aim is to promote understanding and respect for cultural identities by highlighting the realities they face on daily basis...Hazaras have been the victim of active persecution and discrimination and one of the reasons among many has been the lack of information, awareness, and disinformation.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lives intersect in 'Lipstick in Afghanistan'

Posted by Sharon Galligar Chance, Las Vegas Review-Journal guest reviewer

For Elsa Murphy, life growing up in her working-class neighborhood never has been easy, but a single swipe of lipstick could give her the confidence and courage she needs to make a difference in war-torn Afghanistan.

Roberta Gately’s debut novel, “Lipstick in Afghanistan,” is the fictionalized accounting of one woman’s unselfish devotion to her job as a nurse in a small mountain village in remote Afghanistan.

When packing for her assignment, Elsa makes sure she includes several tubes of lipstick that infuse her with poise and bravery, never dreaming that those simple tubes of color would change many lives. Elsa trained as an emergency room nurse in Boston, but nothing could have prepared her for the devastation she encounters in the small village of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.

Thrust into the job of managing the small medical clinic and supervising two local doctors, Elsa soon learns to love the humble people who need her care. She makes fast friends with local resident Parween, a young widow who bonds with the American nurse over their affection for lipstick and their overwhelming desire to make things better around them. Elsa also finds a love interest in Mike, a handsome American special forces solider, who is part of the unit assigned to protect Bamiyan from the Taliban.

As the war rages around them, all three lives change through love, friendship and understanding, but all three experience tragedy as well in a beautiful land torn apart by war.

Gately tells the story of Afghanistan in two voices with this fascinating, heart-wrenching novel. She presents Elsa’s story of an impoverished child who longs to make a difference in the world after seeing a magazine story about the genocide in Rwanda. Gately also tells Parween’s story of a charming young girl who marries young, is widowed young and desperately wants to keep her family safe from the evil influences of the Taliban. As their stories intersect, readers will be enthralled with the differences and similarities between the two young women.


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