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Jamil Jan Kochai discusses his new novel, 99 Nights in Logar with Elaine Castillo.
Praise for 99 Nights in Logar
“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
“Imagine a twelve-year-old Don Quixote traversing a world full of absurdities and tragedies. Imagine The Arabian Nights set with America overshadowing an ancient landscape. 99 Nights in Logar is 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 Kinder Than Solitude
“99 Nights in Logar is a revelation, in every sense of the word. An intimate look at childhood, at an Afghan province, at people and places as they deserve to be known, in all their complications. This is a novel that mourns all that has been lost, and chases after what might still be recovered. A romp, a poem, a prayer, a song of childhood—like youth itself, the writing is all energy, adventure, and possibility. Jamil Kochai is an astoundingly talented writer, listen up.”
—Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
“As alive to the present as to the past, Jamil Jan Kochai has crafted a first novel of tremendous promise. 99 Nights in Logarunfolds with complexity and inventiveness, revealing the many ways each generation must contend with the decisions of the generations before. An auspicious debut that captures with great urgency what awaits the generation coming of age now.”
—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew
About 99 Nights in Logar
A dog on the loose. A boy yearning to connect to his family's roots. A country in the midst of great change. And a vibrant exploration of the power of stories--the ones we tell each other and the ones we find ourselves in.
Twelve-year-old Marwand's memories from his previous visit to Afghanistan six years ago center on his contentious relationship with Budabash, the terrifying but beloved dog who guards his extended family's compound in the rural village of Logar. But eager for an ally in this place that is meant to be "home," Marwand misreads his reunion with the dog and approaches Budabash the way he would any pet on his American suburban block--and the results are disastrous: Marwand loses a finger, and Budabash escapes into the night.
Marwand is not chastened and doubles down on his desire to fit in here. He must get the dog back, and the resulting search is a gripping and vivid adventure story, a lyrical, funny, and surprisingly tender coming-of-age journey across contemporary Afghanistan that blends the bravado and vulnerability of a boy's teenage years with an homage to familial oral tradition and calls to mind One Thousand and One Nights yet speaks with a voice all its own.
“Funny, razor-sharp, and full of juicy tales that feel urgent and illicit . . . the author has created a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers.” —New York Times Book Review
Named one of the best books of 2018 by NPR, Real Simple, Lit Hub, The Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Post, Kirkus Reviews, and The New York Public Library