Book Review: 'Hinterland' by Caroline Brothers

This compelling new novel about two orphaned brothers crossing Afghanistan will open your eyes and break your heart.

by Pam Houston
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New York Times correspondent Caroline Brothers was so moved by her experience covering The Lost Boys of Afghanistan—staggering numbers of young refugees seeking asylum and education in Europe—that she turned to the tools of fiction to retell their stories from the inside out in Hinterland (Bloomsbury). After the Taliban murders their parents and older brother, Aryan, 14, and Kabir, 8, flee Afghanistan for Kabul-Tehran-Istanbul-Athens-Rome-Paris-London (Aryan makes Kabir memorize the itinerary in case they get separated). These place names become "like stepping stones across the map of the sentient world, a songline of seen and imagined places that points to where they're going and where they've been." Aryan's compassionate, compelling narration of their harrowing journey will open your eyes and break your heart. (

First Published February 23, 2012

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