Reviews

“99 Nights in Logar is crafted with care, respect and a hard-earned and profound understanding of its readership. It is funny, razor-sharp and full of juicy tales that feel urgent and illicit, turning the reader into a lucky, trilingual fly on the wall in a family loaded with secrets and prone to acquiring more. . . . The ensuing adventure is witty and engaging, somewhat allegorical, thrumming with histories of foreign wars and with memories of lives lost and childhoods cut short. . . . The author has created a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers. . . . Kochai has created an exciting and true voice.”

– Dina Nayeri, New York Times Book Reviews

'It’s something more than well crafted; it’s phenomenal …  Many of these stories are breath-taking. Some are as scary as waiting for a bomb to fall, or for a lost son to return; others are as tender as a little flower that survives the Daisy Cutters … Besides being a cracking read, this novel is an act of remembrance for a people the world has forgotten … Kochai rises to the task with a truth that three generations of think tanks, after hundreds of billions in war effort and more billions in aid effort, haven’t been able to unearth. While battling to survive a freak flood and find the wolf dog that took away his finger, Marwand says: “Wallah, I am sick of this war that I can’t win and can’t afford to lose.” 

– Mohammed Hanif, Guardian

“A funny, lightly surreal evocation of life in rural Afghanistan . . . driven by a profusion of tales within tales, which begin and break off, resume and recur, swerve or blossom into one another. . . . The magical elements don’t seem so much more far-fetched than the drones in the sky, and the book’s comic register turns out to be wildly elastic . . . help[ing to] restore a sense of the weight and substance of individual Afghan lives for readers so inured to the large numbers of reported deaths over many years.”

– Harper's Magazine

 

“An absorbing portrait of life in contemporary Afghanistan that is simultaneously raucous and heart-rending, told from a perspective we rarely hear … With beautiful prose that encompasses the brutality of life in Afghanistan without overshadowing the warmth of family, culture and storytelling, Kochai delivers a gorgeous and kaleidoscopic portrait of a land we're used to seeing through a single, insufficient lens: the war on terror. A vivid and moving novel about heritage, history and the family bonds that transcend culture”

– Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review  

 

"His 99-day-long search for the devil dog Budabash is filled with the stories of events both real and imagined: a family wedding, a mysterious illness that takes down the household, and finally the dreamlike clash between Marwand and Budabash. Kochai is a masterful storyteller, and will leave readers eager for the next tale."

– Publishers Weekly 

Along the way, the boys both hear and recount stories, painting a portrait of a country beset by occupying forces and internal unrest yet buoyed by a rich cultural history and a resilient population. Kochai captures the joys and the sorrows of life in Afghanistan, offering readers a glimpse into everyday life in a country whose people have grown so used to constant bombardment that they can differentiate between various types of IEDs by sound alone.

– Booklist

 

“Imagine a twelve-year-old Don Quixote traversing a world full of absurdities and tragedies ... Hilariously sad and heartbreakingly funny. Jamil Jan Kochai, a thrilling new writer, achieves in this book that rare quality of a storyteller both ageless and contemporary”

– Yiyun Li, author of Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

 

“A revelation, in every sense of the word ... A romp, a poem, a prayer, a song of childhood, like youth itself, the writing is all energy, adventure, and possibility. Jamil Jan Kochai is an astoundingly talented writer. Listen up”

– Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

 

“Ferocious, funny, rude, and freewheeling, 99 Nights in Logar is an insider's portrait of modern Afghanistan - written with deep affection and zero piety. A brilliant and stylish debut”

– Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs

 

 

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