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“The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is an endlessly inventive and moving collection, the work of a thrilling and capacious young talent. These stories surprise and charm and haunt in equal measure, while challenging the world as we think we know it. Jamil Jan Kochai is the real deal.”

Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins

“Jamil Jan Kochai is a once-in-a-generation talent.”

Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs

“A remarkable collection…seamed with sharp wit, and often hilarious…Kochai is a thrillingly gifted writer, and this collection is a pleasure to read, filled with stories at once funny and profoundly serious, formally daring, and complex in their apprehension of the contradictory yet overlapping worlds of their characters.”

Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine

“A brilliant, crazy quilt exploring filial devotion, religious beliefs, family, history and the effects of endless war.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Lighthearted yet powerful and oftentimes funny, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak is an incredible work of deep empathy and care, with witty writing and sharp stories that take unpredictable turns.”

Chicago Review of Books

“A master class in storytelling, and a beautiful reflection on a people that have endured decades upon decades of tragedy. Stunning, compassionate, flawless.”

Kirkus Reviews

“There’s magic here…in this visceral, timely collection.”


“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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