This book is the first modern-day novel in English describing Tajikistan as it is today. It is a beautiful country, rich with agriculture and tourism potential, but has also become an increasingly harsh place for women with the degradation of their rights and an increase in dogmatism, chauvinism and orthodoxy in poor households, justified in the name of culture. It has a regime run by despotic warlords and is marred by the drugs trade, a murky underworld that co-exists with ordinary life.
In 2008, there were a series of small explosions in Dushanbe. No one claimed responsibility. There are ten banned opposition parties in Tajikistan. Many of them are multi-national and would like to see Central Asia become an Islamic 'superstate'. Religious minorities are not allowed to register new places of worship and all mosques and churches are required to be registered. Proselytising and missionary activity was officially banned in 2008.
Dedicated to the women of Tajikistan, The Disobedient Wife intertwines the narratives of Harriet Simenon, whose journal portrays a darker interior world than that of the rich wife of the powerful Henri Simenon, and Nargis, her local nanny and maid, struggling with poverty, yet with a strength that Harriet comes to admire as her own life unravels.
Rich with sense of place and deeply humane, Milisic-Stanley brings the acute observation of an artist and social anthropologist to bear on this moving and compelling story of how two women survive and thrive in difficult circumstances.