LoS Book Club: The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul is a story centred around five women who, despite having very different backgrounds find comfort and friendship in each other, while meeting at a little coffee shop in Kabul. Situated in one of the most dangerous places on Earth, five very different come together to find friendship and solace. Each of these women have a very different story:

Sunny, the owner of the coffee shop, hopes to make women from all backgrounds feel welcome and more importantly, safe. The love of her life is out on a secret mission and while she hasn’t heard from him in a while, her café keeps her going. Yazmina, a young woman who fell prey to her uncles massive debt, was taken away by warlords when he couldn’t repay the debt. She is now with child and has stolen away from her remote village, abandoned on Kabul’s violent streets. Candace, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, Wakil. Isabel, a determined journalist from Britain who is in Afghanistan in search of a story for the BBC. She hides a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life and Halajan, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules in this religious city. With each meeting, these five women discover there’s more to one another than meets the eye and soon they start to form a unique bond that will forever change their lives.

About the Author

Deborah Rodriguez is an American author and humanitarian who has lived in Kabul herself which has allowed her to have and create such beautifully crafted characters. She is also the author of the international bestsellers Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul, The Zanzibar Wife and Island on the Edge of the World. She has also written two memoirs: The Kabul Beauty School, about her life in Afghanistan, and The House on Carnaval Street, on her experiences following her return to America.

She has also spent five years teaching and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, which is the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Deborah also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House. She is the founder of the non profit organization Oasis Rescue, which aims to teach women in post-conflict and disaster-stricken areas the art of hairdressing. 

An Excerpt from the Book

The Kabul Coffee House was jammed with regulars-misfits, missionaries and mercenaries, Afghans and foreigners-and Sunny, as usual, was at the counter. She surveyed her domain, pleased with the business, the buzz, the life that pulsated in the room. This was her very own place, here, in the middle of a war zone, in one of the most dangerous locations on earth. After a lifetime of hard luck and bad choices, finally, at the age of thirty-eight, she’d found a home. Sunny was the center of the cafe, and she planned never to leave.

Kabul was the perfect place for her. Since nothing here was on solid ground, anything was possible, and anything could happen. Five men had just walked in, dressed in black, Foster Grants hiding their eyes, machine guns slung over their shoulders, sidearms hanging from their waists. She hadn’t seen such beautiful men in a long, long time. In another country they’d mean trouble. But here, she knew they were five tall lattes and a plate of biscotti.

“Hey guys,” she said with the slight Southern lilt that she couldn’t shake loose after all these years. “If you want a menu, you need to give me your guns, like the sign says.” She nodded toward the door where a placard read: please check your weapons at the door.

With a thick Eastern European accent, one of the men started to argue, and all eyes in the cafe turned toward them. Sunny flashed her biggest smile and assured him their guns would be safe. “And besides,” she said, “with guns, no menu. You want to eat? You give them up.”

My thoughts

There’s something about women hood and how women, can, in the most toughest of situations pull together and for a sisterhood that empowers and protects other women. That’s truly what I love about this book – that in the middle of one of the most dangerous cities in the world, there is still a little coffee shop run by a women, where other women can come together and find a safe haven. I love stories about sisterhood and women standing by and empowering other women and The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul was just that for me.

What are your thoughts?