Harper Collins, $32.99
Mellissa Fung, BA’94
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CBC journalist Mellissa Fung was kidnapped in Kabul, Afghanistan, in the fall of 2008. Under an Afghan Sky is a breathtaking and deeply personal memoir of her capture and confinement, and her release a gruelling 28 days later.
The book is testament to Fung’s passion for storytelling and her enduring spirit. It tells of the kidnappers’ experiences as well as her own, reminding the reader of this veteran journalist’s ability to captivate and hold an audience with compassionate stories about people living in difficult circumstances.
We learn about her time confined in a dark hole in the ground, the hundreds of cigarettes smoked, the tens of boxes of cookies consumed, and the number of hail Marys said and sung. She tells of leveraging the odd pleasantry from her three kidnappers to engage them in conversations about religion, relationships and their hopes and dreams. Although her motive was trying to understand what was happening to her, it was clear that she was developing a relationship with her captors.
Fung opens her life to readers on every page. We learn of her tepid relationship with Catholicism, the relationships she had formed with Afghans during her work, and the constant concern for her family and loved ones. Fung’s moving memoirs provide a humbling perspective and are a reminder of the uncertainty that exists in Afghanistan for visitors and residents alike. A beautiful read, Fung’s story shares innocence, curiosity, resilience and compassion.
Reviewed by Darran Fernandez, MEd’10