The Opium Prince

Jasmine Aimaq

ISBN: 9781641291583

Published: December 1, 2020

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Hardcover $27.95

Jasmine Aimaq

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Jasmine Aimaq’s stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution and the far-reaching consequences of a young Kochi girl’s tragic death.

Afghanistan, 1970s. Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los...

Jasmine Aimaq’s stunning debut explores Afghanistan on the eve of a violent revolution and the far-reaching consequences of a young Kochi girl’s tragic death.

Afghanistan, 1970s. Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of a US foreign aid agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world’s opiate addiction.

But on the drive out of Kabul for an anniversary trip with his wife, Daniel accidentally hits and kills a young Kochi girl named Telaya. He is let off with a nominal fine, in part because nomad tribes are ignored in the eyes of the law, but also because a mysterious witness named Taj Maleki intercedes on his behalf. Wracked with guilt and visions of Telaya, Daniel begins to unravel, running from his crumbling marriage and escalating threats from Taj, who turns out to be a powerful opium khan willing to go to extremes to save his poppies.

This groundbreaking literary thriller reveals the invisible lines between criminal enterprises and political regimes—and one man’s search for meaning at the heart of a violent revolution.

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“A gripping story that delves into the 'real Afghanistan' that lies behind the headlines. Jasmine Aimaq brings deep personal and family knowledge of Afghanistan to bear on the full panoply of actors in the tragedy of Afghanistan: US shortsightedness, determined Islamists, family bonds, and Afghan moderates trying to find an in-between. Deeply informed, beautifully written, vivid characters, with a real feel for this complex culture and geopolitical agony from competing perspectives. A stunning debut literary novel.”
—Graham Fuller, former CIA Station Chief in Kabul and author of A World Without Islam
The Opium Prince is an evocative, overdue tale of Afghanistan, written with searing insight by Jasmine Aimaq. Against the backdrop of 1970s Kabul, Aimaq sets an edgy cat-and-mouse game between a half-Afghan US government official and an opium khan, threaded together by the hard beauty of the country's land and people. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Cara Black, New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc series and Three Hours in Paris
“Offering a piercing look at the Afghan view of foreign aid and patriarchal foreigners, Aimaq, who is half-Afghan and spent part of her life in the country, is a writer to watch. Every carefully described detail here will stay with readers as they examine what they thought they knew about America’s exporting of democracy and its war on drugs. For its worlds-within-worlds quality, give this to David Mitchell fans; it’s also a great choice for book clubs.”
Booklist, Starred Review for The Opium Prince
“A young American diplomat comes face to face with the turmoil of Afghan society and the anguish of its people . . . What begins as a thriller evolves into a detailed history of the region’s traumas.”
—Kirkus Reviews