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November 11 , 2009

On the Edge of Being

An Afghan Woman's Journey


Painful and shocking, but often hopeful, the stories in On the Edge of Being illustrate the devastating impact of the split between body and voice that Afghan women are forced to navigate. The daughter of a progressive Afghan governor, Dr. Sharifa Sharif observed from an early age that life for women - both within and beyond the walls of her home - was neither simple, nor fair. As she navigates the rocky terrain of what it means to be a woman in Afghan society, Sharif candidly connects her own troubling experiences with those of girls and women around her: those who appeal to her father for justice, those who work as servants in her friends' homes and, crucially, her own mother, whose inability to alter the restrictions in her own life causes both anger and empathy. From her childhood travelling through the poorest provinces in Afghanistan to life as a schoolteacher, an immigrant student in North America and beyond, Dr. Sharif struggles to define her identity through experiences of marginality, on the journey to reclaim her body and self.

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