Long before becoming a mother herself, filmmaker and author Saira Shah was deeply attuned to children. As a war correspondent, her unsentimental but searing films, Death in Gaza and Beneath the Veil, showed the effects of children living in extreme conflicts.
The misplaced bravado of Palestinian boys brainwashed by ideas of matyrdom and the haunting fear in the green eyes of young girls in a distant Afghan valley brought home the tragedy of their circumstances.
Saira's delicate telling of their stories remains vivid.
Her first novel, The Mouseproof Kitchen, blends the real life story of her own daughter, born profoundly disabled, and the story of a fictional Type A couple, Anna and Tobias, coming to terms with a life they never bargained for.
Anna, Tobias, and their daughter, Freya, end up in a rickety, rodent-infested farmhouse in a remote town in France; far from the mansion in Provence they had imagined. Little do they know that this is the beginning of what will become an incredible journey of the heart; one during which they learn there really is no such thing as a mouse-proof kitchen. Life is messy, and it’s the messy bits that make it count.