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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,216 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Deborah Rodriguez Narrator: Mozhan Marnò Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2011 ISBN: 9780307879189
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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.

From the Hardcover edition. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • 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 
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • [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

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodi | 2/20/2014

    " Sunny, as ex-pat in Kabul, has finally found the family she's craved in the coffee bar she owns and runs. It's a motley crew, a pregnant widow who will likely be stoned if anyone learns her secret, an older widow, her landlady, being courted by a tailor without her son's consent, a Hazzarah barista and cook, a couple of spies and mercaries, a British reporter, an American fundraiser and a host of others. There is tragedy and comedy and a war because after all this is Afghanistan where women are chattel and worth less than goats. Though the reading is quite good, Rodriguez bites off a lot in this novel, more than can adequately be chewed. There are so many sub-plots and so many wrap up so neatly. Sure, there are a few that end sadly, but even those are almost glossed over as part of war. I wish she had taken only a few and entwined those and created a thicker thread to pull on. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine Hensen | 2/16/2014

    " I enjoyed this book. It was fairly light reading but touched on some important issues. Gave you things to think about in everyday life in another country and what other people, in this case women, have to deal with. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Peta Tynan | 2/6/2014

    " I quite enjoyed this boy meets girl easy read. The setting added extra interest. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jane | 2/2/2014

    " Thought that Khaled Hosseini's "A Hundred Thousand Suns" much better than this one. Found the character descriptions a bit cheesy in description. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie | 1/25/2014

    " I loved this book. It tells the story of a coffee shop in Kabul, Afghanistan; the American woman who runs it; and the other foreigners and Afghans who work there and visit there. It tells the story of a changing country, and the treatment of women there, and friendship and love. This book added color to my very gray imagination of what Afghanistan must be. I highly recommend it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 1/22/2014

    " This book made me look in a totally different way at life and war in Afghanistan. Although it is fiction, the author actually lived and worked there during wartime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel Jessen | 1/17/2014

    " I'd give it 3.5 stars. Nice, easy read. And, an excellent reminder how many, many women throughout the world live. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tammi Doyle | 1/14/2014

    " It's obvious the author had first-hand experience with life in Afghanistan. There were so many personal elements to the way it was written that allows the reader to become comfortable with the characters. It could have gone so wrong, this story, barely side-stepping the 'Americans are always the heros' path. But I rather liked this book although it frequently fell victim to cliche. It was a four star read, but I deducted a star for the quote on page 154: "He kissed her like she'd never been kissed before". Cringe. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 KarenV | 1/13/2014

    " 2.5 stars. A quick and easy read but not that well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenny | 12/23/2013

    " I liked this book - it was a smooth, although predictable read and the characters were likeable. The history of what's happening in Afghanistan is very interesting and eye-opening. There was some language. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Maxine | 12/17/2013

    " This book sounded so promising and I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately it appears to be just another chick lit story albeit in a rather different setting to most cheesy novels. I just couldn't get interested in it. Too many characters and too little depth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Falene | 11/30/2013

    " I did like it but I guess my bias kept creeping in as I had a hard time at the end as she has Ahmet struggle with his feelings and talks of Islam as a religion of love blah blah blah- "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lara | 7/19/2013

    " Nice story but very predictable "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy | 5/19/2013

    " I thought this was a very enjoyable book. The characters were interesting enough but the location was the heart of the story. I feel that I learned a little more about the traditions of Afghanistan and what it would be like to be there now in this time of turmoil. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ferrie | 4/19/2013

    " I read this book as a recovering getaway from the ski trip. Surprisingly I was quickly attracted and absorbed by the author's light-hearted yet good story-telling writing style. After finishing this book, I have gained knowledge and sympathy for Afghanistan's life, especially women's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rach | 3/25/2013

    " well written i loved the insight to Afghanie women's lives. a little bit predictable and felt the end was rushed but otherwise and easy read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Catherine | 10/23/2012

    " This was okay as a story about life in a war torn city, but the story was predictable and the character 'development' was a little too convenient. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Adina | 7/9/2012

    " The book engaged me, and I read it through to the end but it was somewhat formulaic. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 12/21/2011

    " Really enjoyed this glimpse into another culture! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deeva | 9/20/2011

    " People say its offensive but I'm afghan and i really enjoyed the book.The book has verious characters POV each with their own problems and worlds. At the end they all connect. I like Yazmina's and Ahmet's POV because the romance between them is adorable! I really recommend this book to everybody. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kemi looves 2 read | 8/6/2011

    " 134 pages into the book I was bored stiff. I did a speed read to the predictable ending. There was absolutely no depth to many of her characters. A lot of the storyline was quite unrealistic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melanie | 6/29/2011

    " It drew me into life in Kabul and, I hope, a little more understanding of the thinking of the Afghan culture,and the conflicts that are a part of life there. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nura | 6/21/2011

    " Prayers are sometimes answered when and how they are least expected.

    #1 official project "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daisy | 6/15/2011

    " This was a very enjoyable read! The characters each have their own side stories going on but it all connects and combines within the Coffee Shop's own story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lora | 6/15/2011

    " Overall it was a really good book. Not sure I like how they did the ending, kind of fast and all wrapped up. It covers some of the same social issues as A Thousand Splendid Suns, but not as deep. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tess | 5/28/2011

    " Fabulous book. The characters are so colourful, a really really great read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 5/20/2011

    " I thought this was a great read. Very enlightening of what women (and men)
    go through on a daily basis for survival in Afghanistan. It centers around
    a modest coffeehouse where several different peoples lives intersect.

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 5/16/2011

    " I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. The story is compelling and eye-opening, while still being entertaining. "

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About the Author
Author Deborah Rodriguez

Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, a motivational speaker, and the author of the bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School. She spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. She also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House. She currently lives in Mazatlán, Mexico.

About the Narrator

Mozhan Marnò is an Iranian American film and television actress, most notably appearing in Charlie Wilson’s War and Bones. Her audiobook narrations have won several AudioFile Earphones Awards.