Homebody/Kabul commences with a long monologue delivered by a middle-aged woman (“Homebody”) who discourses upon her empty marriage and inexorable attraction to exotic and beautiful Afghanistan because she learns from an old travel book about its ancient and modern struggles against Western colonialism. This is ironic since Homebody is British, and Great Britain was a major colonialist power.
Interwoven with this history lesson, Homebody’s detailed ruminations include a story about her purchase of ten Afghan hats to give to friends as party favors. As she pays for the hats, Homebody notices that three fingers on the merchant’s right hand are missing, cut off, he explains, by the Russian colonialists.
The scene shifts to Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with several new characters, including Homebody’s husband (Milton) and daughter (Priscilla), as well as a British government liaison (Quango Twisleton), an Afghan guide and poet (Khwaje Aziz Mondanabosh), and a librarian, wife of an Afghan doctor (Mahala).
Milton (a cold, unfeeling computer expert) and Priscilla (a lonely and lost character) have traveled to Afghanistan to locate Homebody, who has disappeared in Kabul. According to the dictatorial Taliban, Homebody was brutally killed by a mob because she failed to observe the proper traditions of female dress. Since her body has not been found, her family rejects this scenario.
Priscilla is absolutely...
(The entire section is 486 words.)