|J. Malcolm Garcia’s writing has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review,
McSweeney’s, Mother Jones, West Branch, the Alaska Quarterly Review,
and various other publications. He’s written about the drug war in Mexico, race relations in Jena,
Louisiana, and the poor of Buenos Aires, among other topics. He is the author of memoir about his work
in Afghanistan, The Khaarijee: A Chronicle of Friendship and War in Kabul (Beacon Press).
A memoir about six orphans, a dog, a Muslim man, and an inexperienced American journalist--thrust together
in post-9/11 Afghanistan.
Shortly after September 11, J. Malcolm Garcia, a former social worker new to both journalism and war,
arrived in Afghanistan. Over the next seven years, he would return to the country several times, finding
there both a professional and emotional center. When he first arrived, Garcia met Khalid, a young Afghan
he affectionately called Bro, who became his driver, interpreter, and, eventually, his friend. Bro in
turn called Garcia the khaarijee--the outsider. He told Garcia he wasn't responsible for his new friend's
life, but at least two times he saved it. He instructed Garcia to avoid dogs because they were rabid,
then helped him steal a puppy from an organized dog fight. Bro told him to be wary of street children,
only to assist him in feeding and educating six homeless, war-orphaned boys.
Bro was Sancho Panzo to Garcia's Don Quixote, and together they faced Afghanistan's uncertain future.
Gritty, gripping, and unexpectedly moving, The Khaarijee tells the story of this extraordinary intersection
of paths, and shows how profoundly Afghanistan transformed Garcia. Issues of friendship and loss, guilt and
resolution, and wanting to make a difference tap into universal themes, extending The Khaarijee
beyond much travel writing and war reportage.