A young woman poses for the cover of a magazine. A Canadian soldier serving in Kandahar falls in love with her photograph and sends her an email. The Darling of Kandahar tells a story of love, loss, and displacement against the background of the war in Afghanistan, of the founding of the city of Montreal – and of a city now crowded with immigrants. When Felicia Mihali’s first novel appeared in French in 2002, it was compared to Marie-Claire Blais’s masterpiece, A Season in the Life of Emmanuel. Making her English-language début with The Darling of Kandahar, Mihali now joins Nancy Huston as one of the few writers working in English as well as French.close this panel
“The star-crossed relationship concludes in Irina’s mind with one of the most romantic ideas around: that declaring her love for Yannis, not holding back because of fear or timidity, would have given him a reason to survive the war.” – The Globe and Mail.
"The premise of Felicia Mihali’s new novel The Darling of Kandahar is taken from a real-life event. After a young woman appeared on the cover of the 2007 University Student issue of Maclean’s magazine, a Canadian soldier stationed in Afghanistan, apparently taken with the photo, wrote a letter that was printed in the magazine. The media began calling the cover girl “the darling of Kandahar.” Mihali fictionalizes this girl as Irina, a Montreal student who is asked to pose for the cover of Maclean’s and later receives an email with the subject line “Hello from Kandahar.” -- Montreal Review of Books.
"The novel is set in Montreal, and Irina often turns her attention to the city’s fraught history. A significant portion of the novel is dedicated to Irina and her best friend, Marika, re-enacting the story of Jeanne Mance and the founding of Montreal. This is done with such a startlingly acute analysis of those apostolic settlers, that one wonders if such a perspective can only be achieved by somebody who has not been taught to take pride in this history." -- The Roverclose this panel