The hugely funny and nail-bitingly dramatic account of how a talented Australian TV executive found herself working on Afghanistan's best-loved soap.
On an impulse, Trudi-Ann Tierney, Sydney producer and former actress, goes to Kabul to manage a bar. She quickly falls into the local TV industry, where she becomes responsible for producing a highly popular soapie.
Trudi's staff are hugely inexperienced. They include Habib, the Pashto poet who wants to insert allegorical scenes involving fighting ants into the scripts; Rashid, the Dari manager, who spends all day surreptitiously watching uncensored Hindi music videos; and the Pakistani actresses who cross the border to Jalalabad ('Jallywood') to perform roles that no Afghan actresses can take on without bringing shame to their families.
Trudi lives among the expat community - the media, the burnt-out army types now working as security contractors, the 'Do-Gooders', the diplomats - in dubious guest houses like The Dirty Diana. This is 'Ka-bubble', where the reckless encounters with each other, with alcohol and of course with recreational drugs are as dangerous as the city's streets.
Here are crazy people living crazy lives, and locals trying to survive as best they can against the backdrop of war.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Aussie women are a pretty gutsy lot, the kind you want in a crisis. There's nothing they won't tackle and take in their stride. Trudi Ann Tierney is the perfect example of that combo of practicality, humour and toughness that is so typical of the national temperament. So when her job minding a bar in Kabul while the owners take some much needed R and R morphs into producing television drama for Afghan viewers, no worries. She's on it.
Her staff are inexperienced and her actors can't read, which makes learning their lines awkward. Oh, and she's also delivering subtle public messages about bomb-making courtesy of her shadowy masters... It does help that she can drink like a fish and appears to thrive in a climate of stress and near farcical absurdity, prepared to risk her life on hair-raising drives through mine-infested, avalanche-prone country.
She tells it like it is, bringing life in Ka-bubble, as it is known to the diplomats, do-gooders and security contractors who fly in and out to get their fix of adrenalin to the page with raw candour.
About the Author
Trudi-Ann Tierney is a Sydney-based writer and producer for television who spent three and a half years as the head of drama for a broadcaster in Afghanistan. Her production company is currently developing a drama serial for Papua New Guinea. This is her first book.