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Under An Afghan Sky Hardcover – May 3 2011
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"In Under an Afghan Sky, Mellissa Fung touches on some difficult issues and does not divide the world into the two realms of good and evil. As she tells of the long days and nights she spent with her captors in a hole in the ground, we get to know them as the flawed human beings that they were, desperate individuals who had been pushed to the edge by war, poverty, and political and religious extremism. This is an important book that can lead the reader to a better understanding of a very complicated country." --Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran
"There's a wonderful tension in Under the Afghan Sky between the wide-eyed curiosity, innocence, decency, resilience, and compassion of the narrator and the reader's sense of peril in the suffocating confinement, the ever-present likelihood of murder, and the backdrop of a fundamentally irrational conflict. I came away feeling that anybody else but Mellissa would probably have perished and that she survived because of the strength of her character, which certainly surprised some of her kidnappers. I was totally captivated." --Linden MacIntyre, author of The Bishop's Man
"Grabbed at gunpoint, stabbed in the shoulder, knifed in the hand, thrown in an underground hole for 28 days, and yet Mellissa Fung never stops being a reporter. Fung puts you in that awful, dark, rancid hole with her, and lets you listen in as she never stops confronting her kidnappers. Vivid in its detail, dramatic in its conversation, Under an Afghan Sky is riveting journalism, and guess what? There's even an endearing love story that runs throughout the book." --Peter Mansbridge
"Mellissa Fung's vivid portrait of the soul of a journalist even in the most terrifying of circumstances is a recognition of the never yielding human spirit. When we follow our calling it can save our lives. Her experience is an example of this." --Sandra Oh
"This breath-taking, deeply moving memoir of the nightmare of being taken hostage is immensely readable and compelling. The enormity of the experience is matched by the brilliance of the writing. This is a must-read for anyone interested in what's happening in Afghanistan today." --Adrienne Clarkson
About the Author
MELLISSA FUNG has been a reporter for CBC Television since 2003. As a national correspondent, she has covered numerous topics on both Canadian and world affairs, including the Robert Pickton trial and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She was sent on assignment to Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008 and was abducted during her second tour. Fung divides her time between Toronto and Washington, D.C.
Top Customer Reviews
It's a story of hope, strength, and courage while faced with adversity. It's also a reminder to us all just how privileged we are to live in a country that is both safe and one which allows us our personal freedom.
Mellissa, a brave young woman felt her best bet was to keep her captors engaged in some sort of dialogue thinking they'd come to know her better and take pity on her. She felt by endearing herself to them, they would come to think of her as a good friend, or even family as one of her captors eventually regarded her as "sister". She asked how to pronounce each of their names properly, asked if they had families, taught them English words, and finally convinced them to promise her that they wouldn't shoot her!
This was an amazing memoir of one woman's courage, strength, and resilience to remain calm during a gruelling 28 day captivity. The writing is both compelling and deeply moving. I couldn't put it down until I'd turned the last page.
But, in October, 2008, Mellissa was on assignment in Afghanistan. She left the safety of the Canadian base to pursue stories about the local people. As she left a refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul, young armed Taliban men snatched her from her interpreter, stabbed her in the shoulder and hand, and carried her off into capitivity for 28 horrifying days. They took her blindfolded somewhere into the mountains and forced her to live in an underground hideout with only one hole to access it. The area tunneled out left little room to stand or lie down. One of her captors raped her. She expected to die there but fervently prayed for release every day. During those 28 days she survived on cookies and juice the kidnappers brought her to eat.
In "Under the Afghan Sky: A Memoir of Captivity," Mellissa recaptures her ordeal but, in an interview following the release of her book, admits that writing about what happened to her wasn't the cathartic exercise she hoped it would be. The images and smells are stamped on her memory forever.
What is amazing is the dogged determination she demonstrates throughout her captivity to survive the rancid dirty conditions of the hole and to remain an independent human being.Read more ›
I would definitely recommend this for anyone who is interested in a true story of kidnapping.
Fung, while seemingly recounting her abduction, also illuminates how polarized schemas produce socially corrosive and inhumane binarisms.
In the course of her memoir she puts into sharp focus her own narrow cultural background and family history, in the course of which she interestingly and perhaps wittingly draws parallels. She relates how her at times almost puerile and periodically bumbling captors, yet who are still capable of raping, starving and entombing her, must ultimately also respond to family mores/expectations and social obligations.
Afghanistan, a historically in-conquerable land, brings them all together, however. And it is outside a Canadian military base in Afghanistan from which she was abducted by three fundamentalists in an old Toyota.
This work also serves to question how propaganda, in all forms, leads society away from the root of all healthy relationships: empathy.
Most recent customer reviews
I ordered this book thinking it would be a fascinating story of one woman's struggles and survival. I got 2 chapters in, and was so bored I set it aside and haven't picked it up... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Corry
Based on my professional experience, Melissa's account of her ordeal accurately represents what so many other kidnap victims have endured during their captivity. Read morePublished on July 17 2014 by Armand Lara
Really enjoyed reading this book. I read this book in a couple of days. I highly recommend this book. This book should be mandatory reading, in every high school in Canada.Published on April 21 2014 by Jeff
This book told without over dramatization how this young woman survived a terrible ordeal in conditions that would have created hysteria in most people. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2013 by Duncan Sillars
Melissa Fung has a very compelling story and it is all written here, however sadly, I did not get to read all of it. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2012 by Paul
This book describes how Ms Fung was kidnapped and subsequently released by a bunch of hudlums in Afghanistan. It is an absolutely gripping story. Read morePublished on June 19 2011 by Raggiana