In the UK we moan about austerity and the breaching of our human rights. But we have no reason to complain compared to life in Afghanistan during the 1990s where freedom of speech, incorrect clothing or improper relationships could result in death. This novel shows the cruelty of the human race in all its entirety. However, there is a chink of light in the form of a lone female, Rukhsana and her love of cricket and her desire to be free.
It is crowded with men who have no reason be be there. Many are just small shopkeepers who have the misfortune to be Uzbeks. Others are in there on trumped-up political charges. I pray only that I do not end up there too one day. There are eighteen blocks and each block has a hundred and sixteen cells and each cell holds forty to fifty men packed like animals for slaughter. The prisoners are allowed to use the toilets only twice a day. One hundred and fifty Talibs guard the prison and they flog and torture the men daily for the pleasure they get from seeing such suffering. Many of the younger man are raped for days then thrown back into the cells, too ashamed to tell anyone what happened to them. Many prisoners die of starvation or torture and the Talibs take them to hospitals and declare they died of an illness, so as to pass on the blame.