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Extended Audio Sample The Taliban Cricket Club Audiobook, by Timeri N. Murari Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (533 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Timeri N. Murari Narrator: Sneha Mathan Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2012 ISBN: 9781470806804
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Set in war-torn Kabul, a harrowing yet tender novel—Bend It Like Beckham in a burka—about one woman’s courage and guile in the face of terror and tyranny

Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist who works for the Kabul Daily in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, Jahan. When Rukhsana is suddenly summoned to appear at the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, their quiet and tenuous way of life is shattered.

There, the malevolent minister, Zorak Wahidi, announces that the Taliban has found a new way to pursue the diplomatic respect it has long been denied: cricket. On the world stage of sports, the Taliban will prove they are a fair and just regime. Rukhsana and several other journalists are to report that a tournament will be held to determine who will play for Afghanistan. Anyone can put together a team. Women are forbidden to play. The winners will travel to Pakistan to train, then go on to represent Afghanistan around the world.

Rukhsana knows that this is a shameful, and deeply surreal, idea. The Taliban will never embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness, and equality, with no tolerance for violence or cheating. And no one in Afghanistan even knows how to play the game—except for Rukhsana.

This could be a way to get her cousins and her brother out of Afghanistan for good. But before she can organize a team, the terrifying Wahidi demands her hand in marriage. He finds her both exciting and infuriating and wants to control her unruly, willful nature. The union would be her prison, stripping away what few freedoms she has left under Taliban rule and forcing her away from her family. Not marrying Wahidi, however, might mean her death. Her family rallies around her, willing to do anything to protect her, even if it means imprisonment—or worse. Then Rukhsana realizes that Wahidi may have given her a way out. With the help of her loyal, beloved brother and cousins, she forms her own cricket team and sets about teaching them how to win their freedom—with a bat and a ball.

Inspired by the Taliban’s actual and unprecedented promotion of cricket in 2000 in an attempt to gain acceptance in the global community, internationally bestselling author Murari weaves a riveting story of strength, hope, and soaring human triumph that proves no tyranny is ever absolute in the face of love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A beautifully written novel that takes the reader through the shrouded world of one woman whose only crime is being a woman…I loved this riveting book.”

    Deborah Rodriguez, New York Times bestselling author of Kabul Beauty School

  • “Narrator Sneha Mathan brings to life the feisty heroine at the center of an unlikely power struggle…and captures the liveliness and dark humor of the story. Listeners will find this work enjoyable and culturally informative.”

    AudioFile

  • “A moving, splendidly realized story of courage and grit in modern-day Kabul. I was won over by Murari’s uplifting and vastly entertaining sporting tale, which reaffirms the power of friendship, fellowship, and love in the face of all forms of tyranny.” 

    Vikas Swarup, New York Times bestselling author of Slumdog Millionaire

  • “A lovely, diverting, and moving tale of contemporary Kabul, about love, courage, passion, tyranny, and cricket. Murari has an uncommon tale to tell, and does so with imagination and empathy.”

    Shashi Tharoor, award-winning author of The Great Indian Novel

  • “Fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner will here find a similarly uplifting story about good people surviving their horrific circumstances…Murari has crafted a tense, compelling story.”

    Library Journal

  • “A thrilling blend of adventure, romance, and danger, Murari’s novel will have readers rooting for Rukhsana and the brave team of boys she hopes to guide to victory and freedom.”

    Booklist

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, May 2012

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garryvivianne | 2/18/2014

    " A young girl in Afghanistan who writes for a daily paper is summoned to appear before the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention. She & her family are threatened about her writing anti-Taliban stories. She takes care of her cancer ridden mother & younger brother. She also learns that there will be a cricket tournament & whichever team wins, they will go to Pakistan to train. She sees this as a way to get her brother out of Afghanistan. But nobody knows how to play cricket, except her! She makes up a team, consisting of her brother & some male cousins. They agree to it, as they see this as a way out of their country, more freedom & ability to proceed with an education. She also knows she cannot go anywhere without wearing a full burka. She dons a beard, mens clothes & teaches them how to play cricket! A way to get their freedom. Good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Curt Moll | 2/17/2014

    " Didn't doubt the outcome but was surprised at how the group reached the outcome. I enjoyed this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurel | 2/7/2014

    " Under the Taliban regime in Kabul, Rukhsana is unable to continue working as a journalist, cannot leave the house without her brother, and must wear a burqua. When it is announced that Afghanistan is going to hold a cricket tournament and send the winning team to Pakistan, she sees a way out of the country for herself and her brother. No one in Afghanistan knows how to play cricket, except Rukhsana. Suspenseful story illustrates the atrocities of the Taliban. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexis | 1/31/2014

    " this was lovely. a non-stop read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Hans | 1/30/2014

    " Loved this one, literally couldn't put it down "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 1/19/2014

    " There's just enough about the soul and technique of cricket, along with corruption, sudden death, obsession and the need to escape the tyranny of the Taliban in Kabul. The author has a tough time with the lovers' dialogue - it's stilted and old-fashioned - but the rest is a tense, fast read. Strong heroine who coaches her cousins in the unknown sport of cricket, so they get a free ride to Pakistan to train with pros. From there, they all plan to scatter and pursue their freedom. Many obstacles appear in the three weeks they have to prepare for the tournament. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Natalie | 1/19/2014

    " Maybe I've read too many novels that take place in Afghanistan or Iran because this book was just too predicable. It had a different twist to it that made it different than the other books, that being the sport Cricket. But the same story line that I see in all of these books is: Woman betrothed to someone she doesn't love or forced to marry a bad man but is really in love with someone else. This book still had an interesting story but I prefer the writing style I've read in some other Middle Eastern historical fiction novels better. This book really was just too predictable. I still had to finish to confirm my predictions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Reem Wasay | 1/19/2014

    " While the author may not know about Afghanistan in the way Hosseini does, the story makes for a good read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 1/18/2014

    " Such a wonderful story of fearlessness, despair, hope, disappointment - so many emotions. The author creates a vivid picture of life in Kabul, and I couldn't help but be drawn into the characters lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/1/2014

    " Interesting quick read "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindsay | 12/17/2013

    " Kinda predictable love story underlying the plot, but some interesting insights into living until the Taliban regime. I think I would have preferred to read the non-fiction version. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fernie Heritage | 12/8/2013

    " Such an interesting take on life in Afghanistan at the start of the twenty-first century. Suspense, drama, love, humor, it has it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 11/16/2013

    " Loved this story! Truly a testament to the power of hope and how it can stand up to injustice. (And now I want to try cricket!) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jacklynn | 11/14/2013

    " The book offered hope. It was a reminder of the difficulties faced by many people around the world who are not free to think, feel or do what they like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl | 11/3/2013

    " The Taliban Cricket Club was delightful! I had never considered cricket as a means of social protest, democratic dissension, and thumbing your nose at the government. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linden | 10/2/2013

    " This book had a lot of information about Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The story was interesting, but some parts were not quite credible. The ending was a little too formulaic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 6/30/2013

    " Fascinating story. Really enjoyed this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erin | 6/14/2013

    " When I realised I was going to stay up to finish this book I went and got myself a packet of tissues as I imagined I'd be an emotional mess by the end. It was a rare book set in Afghanistan as it did have a happy ending, I found the end got a little long and perhaps unrealistic but I enjoyed it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sue | 5/8/2013

    " I really liked this book. It took me awhile to be able to get into it. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna | 4/22/2013

    " Great story with all the essentials.love, family, danger, excitement, loyalty, death.....its all there. And easy read, and a story that will have you turning pages to find out what happens next. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/21/2013

    " I was amazed that this book was written by a man, the perspective of a woman was so well done. It was a great story and a very interesting insight into life under the Taliban rule. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Pernille | 3/14/2013

    " Great easy summer read! Funny and light hearted about a serious subject "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joanne | 2/28/2013

    " Easy read, could have been darker... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelly | 2/21/2013

    " I had a tough time getting into this, but really enjoyed the story as it went along, even the cricket stuff which I expected to find boring. Beautiful writing and well drawn characters. "

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About the Author

Timeri N. Murari is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and playwright who began his career as a journalist in Ontario, Canada. He writes for the Guardian, Sunday Times, and other magazines and newspapers internationally. He has published both fiction and nonfiction, and his bestselling novel, Taj, was translated into nineteen languages.

About the Narrator

Sneha Mathan spent a peripatetic childhood in India, punctuated by a short spell in the Seychelles. Now fixedly based in Seattle, she works as a voice actor and audiobook narrator. Her audiobook work has received several Earphones Awards, and she is a two-time finalist for the Audie Award.