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For readers of Cutting for Stone and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, a "breathtaking and achingly nuanced" (Kirkus, starred review) new novel from the author of the national bestseller The Submission about the journey of a young Afghan-American woman trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth.


Praise for A Door in the Earth 


"...a story about America's endless war in Afghanistan that layers moving storytelling onto penetrating reportage...Few contemporary authors have shown so expertly that well-intentioned intervention can be the most dangerous kind of all....A Door in the Earth" makes a persuasive case for the novel as a powerful source of insight into our moral limitations." 

Lara Feigel, The New York Times Book Review 



"Waldman is an ingenious and probing situational novelist ... In this deeply well-informed, utterly engrossing, mischievously disarming, and stealthily suspenseful tale of slow and painful realizations, Waldman hits the mark over and over again...Every aspect of this complex and caustic tale of hype and harm is saturated with insight and ruefulness...." (*) 

 Donna Seaman, Booklist 


"For a very recent look at the real Afghanistan, in its most everyday form, what could be better than the second novel, recently published, by a seasoned New York Times reporter, Amy Waldman? Told through an idealistic Afghan-American woman just out of Berkeley and set in a remote village in her ancestral homeland, it educated me about Afghan society, the American presence, and how little theories from afar can do justice to the complexity of the world...a close and domestic look at the mines that explode while we're looking in the other direction."
Pico Iyer
Around the World in Six Books, Fable  



"Waldman is that rare novelist who writes from both the head and heart, combining high moral seriousness with moments of irony and humor. In "A Door in the Earth," she has created a novel as moving as it is provocative."

Elizabeth Toohey, The Christian Science Monitor



"...a breathtaking and achingly nuanced examination of the grays in a landscape where black and white answers have long been the only currency. A bone-chilling takedown of America's misguided use of soft power." (*)

Kirkus Reviews


"Amy Waldman beautifully explores a clash of cultures in A Door in the Earth." 

Entertainment Weekly 

"Waldman returns [after The Submission] with an even more ambitious novel, A Door in the Earth, which proves to be as politically provocative and challenging as its predecessor..." --Stephenie Harris, Bookpage


Interview with Madeline Brand, "Press Play" 


Interview with Scott Simon, NPR "Weekend Edition"


Ten years after 9/11, a dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel reimagines its aftermath and wonders what would happen if a Muslim-American was blindly chosen to plan the World Trade Center Memorial. A remarkably bold and ambitious debut, The Submission is peopled with journalists, activists, mourners, and bureaucrats who struggle for advantage and fight for their ideals. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman's cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure individual lives from their own points of view. A striking portrait of a city - and a country - fractured by old hatreds and new struggles, The Submission is a major novel by an important new talent.

Praise for The Submission


"The Bonfire of the Vanities for our time." —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

"[A] gripping, deeply intelligent novel . . . Panoramic in scope but thrillingly light on its feet . . . Waldman does a masterful job of getting into the heads of New Yorkers . . . [A] dazzling tapestry of a grieving city." —Kimberly Cutter, Marie Claire


"[A] poised and commanding debut novel . . . A remarkably assured portrait of how a populace grows maddened and confused when ideology trumps empathy. A stellar debut. Waldman's book reflects a much-needed understanding of American paranoia in the post-9/11 world." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


"Amy Waldman's The Submission is a wrenching panoramic novel about the politics of grief in the wake of 9/11. From the aeries of municipal government and social power, to the wolf-pack cynicism of the press, to the everyday lives of the most invisible of illegal immigrants and all the families that were left behind, Waldman captures a wildly diverse city wrestling with itself in the face of a shared trauma like no other in its history." —Richard Price, author of Freedomland and Lush Life


"Waldman fluidly blends her reporter's skill . . . at rapid-fire storytelling with a novelist's gift for nuanced characterization. She dares readers to confront their own complicated prejudices steeped in faith, culture, and class. This is an insightful, courageous, heartbreaking work that should be read, discussed, then read again." —Sally Bissell, Library Journal (starred review)


"Amy Waldman writes like a possessed angel. She also has the emotional smarts to write a story about Islam in America that fearlessly lasers through all our hallucinatory politics with elegant concision. This is no dull and worthy saga; it's a literary breakthrough that reads fast and breaks your heart." —Lorraine Adams, author of Harbor and The Room and the Chair


"Frighteningly plausible and tightly wound . . . Waldman addresses with a refreshing frankness thorny moral questions and ethical ironies without resorting to breathless hyperbole." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)