No More Mulberries is the beautifully written story of Miriam and Iqbal, and of their family and working life in the rural village of Sang-i-Sia, Afghanistan. Miriam is a midwife who was born in Scotland, but wholeheartedly takes on the traditions and culture of her life in Afghanistan. Iqbal, her husband, is a doctor who has returned home after experiencing far more freedom when he lived in Pakistan.
This is Miriam’s second marriage and as the story develops it becomes clear that her first husband, Jawad, with whom she had a son, Farid, was murdered. Now, she and Iqbal also have a daughter together, Ruckshana.
At the start of the story there is already tension building in the relationship as Miriam takes umbrage when Iqbal cancels the English lessons she was giving to some boys as he felt they were inappropriate. This tension escalates when their boss, Jeanine, arrives, to carry out an inspection of the clinics they run.
Soon Miriam has to take decisions that she knows Iqbal won’t like and ends up facing her past, many years after she should have done. But maybe, just maybe, this is what’s needed to bring her and Iqbal back together.
There is such a delightful attention to detail in this wonderful book. It felt completely authentic and I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing life in Afghanistan in the 1990’s. Highly recommended.