Parveen Shamsa is an anthropology major at California Berkeley. Her parents fled Afghanistan and settled in Northern California before she was born. After reading a book titled Mother Afghanistan, an American man’s memoir about building a clinic in a remote village in that country, Parveen decides to interrupt her studies and travel to that village. She hopes to study the lives of the women in that area. What she expects and what she experiences are vastly different.
Waldman’s first novel, The Submission, told a so so story but hit on several controversial issues. A Door in the Earth is the same in that respect. The characters are rather flat, the plot, at times, is a bit didactic, but the novel brings up many issues worth discussing.