From the author of the “bighearted . . . inspiring” (Vogue) memoir Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there—thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
After hard luck and some bad choices, Sunny has finally found a place to call home—it just happens to be in the middle of a war zone. The thirty-eight-year-old American’s pride and joy is the Kabul Coffee House, where she brings hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through its doors. She’s especially grateful that the busy days allow her to forget Tommy, the love of her life, who left her in pursuit of money and adventure.
Working alongside Sunny is the maternal Halajan, who vividly recalls the days before the Taliban and now must hide a modern romance from her ultratraditional son—who, unbeknownst to her, is facing his own religious doubts. Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment.
When Yazmina, a young Afghan from a remote village, is kidnapped and left on a city street pregnant and alone, Sunny welcomes her into the café and gives her a home—but Yazmina hides a secret that could put all their lives in jeopardy. As this group of men and women discover that there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they’ll form an unlikely friendship that will change not only their own lives but the lives of an entire country.
Brimming with Deborah Rodriguez’s remarkable gift for depicting the nuances of life in Kabul, and filled with vibrant characters that readers will truly care about, A Cup of Friendship is the best kind of fiction—full of heart yet smart and thought-provoking.
“Charming…[a book] to warm your heart.”—Good Housekeeping
"[A] fast-paced winner of a novel...Readers of every political stripe will find A Cup of Friendship the work of a serious artist with great powers of description at her disposal."--Minneapolis Star-Tribune; Kansas City Star
“Rodriguez paints a vivid picture of Afghan culture…as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A great book club read.”—Library Journal
“A superb debut novel…Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page.”—Publishers Weekly
“With a message…to protect and empower the women of Kabul, Rodriguez weaves her tale of life, death, and marriage…Readers will appreciate the in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen.”—Booklist
“Engrossing. Fans of the author’s best-selling memoir, Kabul Beauty School, should be looking for this one, and other readers will quickly discover it, especially those with an interest in current events in the Middle East or for lovers of cross-cultural tales.”—Library Journal
"I loved it...Ensemble casts of characters I wish I could meet, centered around a dynamic female presence. Matter of fact love and humor. Great food and place writing."--Elizabeth Willse
"The story here is more about the complexity and, ultimately, importance of bonds that transcend culture and circumstance."--Bookpage
"Offers stories about the complex lives of women and the many ways their friendships transcend culture."--San Antonio Express-News
"A brilliant story of strength and appreciation of difference that, surprisingly, restores belief in humanity."--Daily Telegraph (Australia)
"Rodriguez’s first work of fiction hums along with humour and understanding."--Australian Women’s Weekly
"A perfect summer read."--Sunday Herald Sun (Australia)
"The story of these women’s friendship is immensely rewarding and one that tells of a place and time where love can still change everything."--Courier Mail (Australia)
"This warm-hearted story will make you laugh, then cry and be concerned at how some women have to live in such a dangerous country."--Woman’s Day (Australia)
"Warm and disarming."--Sunday Age (Australia)
"An eye-opening and uplifting tale of sisterhood and survival."--Grazia (Australia)
"A heart-warming tale about female friendships."--Cosmopolitan (Australia)
"They laugh, cry and love their way through trouble and triumph. You’ll read it in one sitting."--Weekend West (Australia)
Praise for Deborah Rodriguez’s Kabul Beauty School
“[A] rollicking story . . . transcends the feel-good genre largely because of the author’s superior storytelling gifts and wicked sense of humor.”—The New York Times
“Delightful . . . [a] bighearted and entertaining memoir.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Composed of heartbreak, hope, poignancy and candor . . . Kabul Beauty School is laid out masterfully, pulling readers in from the very first page.”—Los Angeles Times
“[A] jaw-dropping true story, alternately hilarious and moving . . . The school was both an oasis and an opportunity.”—New York Daily News
“Endearingly frank . . . inspirational and engaging.”—The Washington Post
“Fascinating . . . lively and honest.”—USA Today