Blue Hours

Press & Reviews

“Rich and layered ... Kalotay’s sense of place — the physical geography as well as emotional landscape — is as savvy and sharp as her portrait of the friendship between these two women. The novel unfolds cross-continentally, cross-class, cross-hearted, moving from New York City in the early ’90s to Afghanistan in 2012, and in Kalotay’s skilled hands the novel is both richly human and deeply political, exploring how decisions reverberate on both the private and the international stage.”

—Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Globe

“Kalotay is at her spellbinding best... as she brilliantly recreates the yearnings of early adulthood for authentic relationships and a sure foothold on life. Young adults will find much to relate to in this nuanced and dazzling dissection of class and friendship.”

—Poornima Apte, Booklist

“A sharp portrait of an isolated woman seeking to understand a defining relationship of her past. ... The novel successfully raises important questions about decisions made on both intimate and global levels, and their consequences.”

Publishers Weekly

“What a terrific novel. Only a book this good could move so well from the intensities of youth to the disasters of the global world—love’s joys and miscalculations from the East Village to Afghanistan. Beautifully written, Blue Hours did that rarest of things, it took me places I never expected to go.”

—Joan Silber, NBCC award-winning author of Improvement

“I've never read a novel quite like Blue Hours. Daphne Kalotay writes with a clarity and an an attention to detail that most authors should rightfully envy. Part heroic quest, part social x-ray, part sui generis meditation on identity, this is a book that lodges, in the best sense, in the mind.”

—John Wray, author of Godsend and Lowboy


“Bravely and elegantly explores the ways in which past tragedies and crimes can return to haunt us, whether in our personal lives or our country's foreign policy. In this constantly surprising novel, Kalotay manages to connect an often-forgotten past to the present-day, helping to make sense out of America's place in an often bewildering world, while also tenderly examining what happens to one American's heart and mind when she finally reckons with her own role within it."

—Suzy Hansen, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Notes on a Foreign Country: an American Abroad in a Post-American World

Blue Hours is a gripping adventure story set in modern Afghanistan and a compelling tale of a heartbreaking love triangle. It is also a lyrical exploration of the intensely personal consequences of national political decisions, of actions that affect who and what we are as Americans. This is an important novel for our time.”

—Rishi Reddi, author of Karma and Other Stories