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99 Nights in Logar

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  43 reviews
A coming-of-age story about one boy’s journey across contemporary Afghanistan to find and bring home the family dog, blending the grit and immediacy of voice-driven fiction like We Need New Names with the mythmaking of One Thousand and One Nights.

Twelve-year-old Marwand’s memories from his previous visit to Afghanistan six years ago center on his contentious relationship w
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Penguin
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3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  86 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jamil Jan Kochai writes a beautifully multilayered and complex novel structured with stories within the main narrative that comprises of a coming of age tale and the challenges of identity and belonging that will resonate for all of us who have moved and made their homes in another country. 12 year old Marwad moved to the US six years ago but is returning home to Logar in Afghanistan for the summer. Marwad is guilt ridden over his past cruel treatment of the guard dog, Budabash, a product of the ...more
99 Nights in Logar is a well-crafted novel where the main plot thread is entwined with multiple tales, incidents, interesting characters, enthralling history and a harsh location. There is a common sense of atmosphere from many books based in Afghanistan and it’s probably due to the wonderful writings that depict a culture always guarded against occupying forces and the imposing landscape of the country. The native occupants of the country have their own myths and culture that feed
Twelve year old Marwand and his family have traveled from their new home in America to to visit their extended families in the Logar Province of Afghanistan. It is six years since they were last there and Marwand and his younger brothers revel in reconnecting with their cousins and being free to run around. When Marwand tries to make friends with the family guard dog, Budabash, he has his finger bitten off and the dog escapes. Against family orders, Marwand and his band of friends leave the comp ...more
Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read)
I received this ARC from Viking via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way. All quotes are taken from the uncorrected proof and are subject to change.

This book was a bit of a trip. I feel like I spent 99 nights just trying to read it.

"During the whole length of the battle, I was scared of hiding and becoming caught. Of running and being hit. Of shooting and becoming a killer. And all my fears warred inside of me, until they m
No rating because I DNF'd after a few chapters.

This is a coming-of-age story about a 12YO boy who returns to his native Afghanistan for a visit. The precipitating event is the search for a family wolf-dog, who had bitten off the tip of our narrator's finger. The narrator is fascinated by the dog and has remembered him from a previous visit, and when the dog frees himself from his restraint and runs off, he joins his young uncles and cousin in a search. The search leads them away from home into
Built partly around the story of a road trip Marwand and his three companions make in search of the escaped Budabesh, 99 Nights in Logar is an insight into Afghan culture, the recent turbulent history of that country and an exploration of storytelling. Told in the narrative style and colloquial speech of a teenage boy, Marwand's experiences are interspersed with lists, travellers stories, cautionary tales and religious parables.

In the book, stories function as a source of entertainment, an expre
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
TW: Animal abuse

99 Nights in Logar is a middle grade that packs a lot into one story. Not only is a story that revolves around the power and influence of stories, but it's about Marwand's quest for his family dog and the connections he makes with his extended family. What starts out as a book about Marwand and the search for the missing family dog, morphs into a book that tells the family stories. 99 Nights in Logar is timely, without being overt, talking about how Marwand's friends in America p
Emi Bevacqua
12-year old Marwand's family has journeyed back home to Logar, Afghanistan, from the States for the long hot summer of 2005. In the beginning of the book his English is strong and he describes struggling with his mother tongues Pakhto and Farsi; by summer's end he is passing as a native speaker. Being mixed-race myself I love a good back-to-roots cultural odyssey; I savored the exotic descriptions, the heart-warming aspect of homecomings and reuniting and bonding, and I gained some perspective o ...more
Janet Rhodes
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
The bones of this story are really good. It’s a fascinating story of an Afghan-American family gone back to visit relatives in Logar province over a summer, told through the eyes of 12 yr old Marwand, mostly raised in the US. But the story needs major editing to pull it together. Arabic script was left untranslated, as were many Pakhtoe (?) words but their meaning was not clear from context. If the intended audience is Arabic speakers, no problem—but a wider general audience needs more help. 99 ...more
Pamela Scott
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it

Well, I’m not sure what to make of this one. I really liked some aspects of 99 Nights in Logar but many aspects just didn’t work for me. I’ll start off with the negatives. I’m not sure if there was a formatting issue with my Kindle file but every line had a pink number on the left hand side which looked really weird and kept pulling my attention. Also there are massive gaps for no reason between chunks of text. There were also large chunks of Arabic script
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written story of a young Afghani/American boy who, with his family, returns to the Afghan village of his mother. The author weaves storytelling within the narrative to help tell the tale of this young man, his extended family, and the culture and history central to his Afghanistan experience. This technique of communication within the central story arc is an essential part of this book's authenticity. The boy moves through the story to find pieces of himself by first hand e ...more
Sarah Mathews
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and human. A love letter to the Afghani people that's interested in joy and sadness and family and magic. It takes inspiration from 1001 Nights to pull us deeper and deeper into this tale of family and community and a quest for reconciliation, while being incredibly smart politically. If your only exposure to Afghanistan was growing up with American news and reading The Kite Runner and The Breadwinner, you *need* to read this book.

Very slight / vague: spoiler:
Readers who've complained
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I received this book from Goodreads.

I had to force myself to finish 99 Nights in Logar.

To make a very long and very angry rant short(ish):

Twelve-year-old Marwand is a insecure, angry little boy with the cruel tendency to take out his underlying issues on Budabash, his extended family’s guard dog living inside the compound in Logar, Afghanistan. At the beginning of the book it is assumed that all the animosity between beast and boy begins when Budabash bites off the tip of Marwand's finger, but t
Kelly K
Feb 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019, did-not-finish
DNF @ page 33
Already within the first 33 pages there's frequent animal abuse. No fucking thank you. I should have read the reviews before I started this one.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Slow start, amazing and lyrical in the middle, but a hasty and disappointing ending. Some parts of the story was well developed, written poetically, and with a lot of details that helped the reader immerse in them, other parts not so much. Overall, a fantastic first attempt.
Charles Rene
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
** I received this book for free from the author/publisher, through a Goodreads Giveaway Contest. I did my best to give an unbiased, honest review. **

I honestly loved this book! The story almost seems like a biography instead of a fiction story, except that there's a layer of mystical surrealism surrounding it like a fog. There were some interesting twists and turns and sometimes even when I knew how something was going to turn out, the way it got there surprised and compelled me. As soon as I w
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, netgalley
I don't like giving low marks, but I really struggled with this book. The synopsis of the book was very interesting: 12 year old Marwand and his young cousins set off on a journey to find the family dog after it bites off Marwand's finger and escapes. They travel through a remote area of Afghanistan without any adults knowledge. So far so good. I liked the premise of the story.
Where I struggled was the style of writing. Pakhto and Farsi were used in the story, and I found it impossible to unde
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
12 year old Marwand has travelled to Logar in his homeland of Afghanistan, from his new home in the United States. He lives with extended family in a typical Afgan compound which is guarded by the family 'wolf-like' dog Budabash. Marwand approaches Budabash with insufficient caution and the dog bites off the end of his finger and then escapes the compound. The older boys of the extended family set out to search for Budabash and in the re-telling of their adventures over 99 nights, you get to und ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a coming-of-age novel set in Afghanistan in 2005. Twelve-year-old Marwand and his family are visiting the country from their settled home in America. Marwand sets off, accompanied by some of his cousins, on a picaresque quest to find Budabash, the dog who lives in their family compound and who has bitten off a portion of Marwand’s finger and run off. The inhospitability of the area, geographically and politically, the Taliban a constant presence, is well evoked. The mazes in which severa ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
99 Nights in Logar is the story of Marwand, a twelve-year-old boy who lives in America and returns to Afghanistan for a summer with his parents and brothers. The village dog takes the tip of his finger, then the dog disappears and he and his cousins go on a quest to find it. There are confrontations with soldiers, a wedding, and a look at Afghanistan in 2005 and how Marwand's identity is affected by leaving and then coming back.

The novel is constantly telling stories, as characters relate tales
Dec 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
There was nothing about this book that I liked. Foreign phrases in almost every sentence. Stupid story line. Nobody liked the dog which was why I wanted to read it in the first place.
Stevie Carroll
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

I love unreliable or conflicting narrators and I’m a great fan of stories within stories. As I’m also trying to read stories by a more diverse range of authors and set in a wider range of geographical locations, this book seemed an obvious pick for me when I was offered a review copy. The narrator of the main story is twelve year old Afghan-American Marwand, who returns to his parents’ home in Logar six years after his previous visit. Duri
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A hit! Such a creative and refreshing story. I thoroughly enjoyed this magical and bittersweet book.

There is a poetic vibe throughout these pages. It's subtle at times, almost hidden. But it sings throughout, lulling the Reader while the action takes place and while stories within stories unfold. The string of stories mirrors conversations in real life. I heard: "Let me tell you..." "This is like the time..." "Remember when..."

I also applaud the author for using non-English words without italici
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This book is a magnificent triumph of the power of storytelling. While it is a thoroughly enjoyable bildungsroman adventure story about a group of boys and their search for their dog and dealing with connecting with your land and it's history, what sets the novel apart is the new landscape and the inventive way of storytelling. Of course there is nothing new in the story within a story format and the author states that he was inspired by 1001 Nights, but the way the stories are used-f ...more
Annette Jordan
Part coming of age story, this story set in Afghanistan also has touches of magical realism in its collection of stories, songs and fables. Marwand is our twelve year old narrator, who embarks on a quest, along with some similarly aged cousins and uncles, to track down the family dog who has bitten the tip of his finger off. This quest encompasses the 99 days of the title, and along the way Marwand meets a diverse cast of characters, and learns about the family history and that of the war torn c ...more
Dearna (Words of the Roses)
Full review:

“The interpreter asked us if we truly meant to find the ghosts of your dead children. ‘Even ghosts need company,’ Jawed said.”   

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to the team at Bloomsbury Publishing for sending a copy my way.

99 Nights in Logar is a wonderful exploration of Afghani culture and the Islamic faith. While the story opens up with Mar
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Several wandering, epic journeys ___odysseys ___weave through stories, flood, mazes, wars and strange recurring encounters and end (not with a bang but a whimper) in a penultimate story written in Arabic (forever a mystery to the English reader) and the sighting of a ghost finger.

What can I say? Perhaps this paragraph hints at the strange mix:

"...we listened for every footstep of every killer in Logar: the psychopathic white boys, the ravenous bandits, the Ts and the gunmen and the drug runners,
Catherine Riviera
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I was privileged to receive this book as an advanced reader copy won through a giveaway from the publisher.
The story of the search for their family land dog intrigued me as I am a dog lover, however I soon realized that the story was more about the culture of Logar, the family traditions, lifestyles and ways of life. At first it seemed hard to follow, but the story opened up as the boys got into more and more situations. A good read if you are interested in Middle Eastern culture and are lookin
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
This is an interesting tale that gives an insight into village life in Afghanistan: close family bonds, home remedies, some fantastic stories and exaggerations. Story telling is an important part of life and there are many stories within the stories. I read an advanced reader's copy. I am hopeful that the final version will include a glossary. A glossary would enhance the reading experience for many.
Aparna B.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I enjoyed this story! Kind of reminded me of the Goonies - ha. We follow Marwand and his relatives as they search the Afghan countryside to find the guard dog Budabash, who got loose. They encounter some adventures, share stories and you get a glimpse into an area of the world we don’t know too much about! You also meet other characters and learn of their adventures. Definitely a nice read. 3.5/5 :)
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