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A novel by the author of Ice-Candy-Man Zaitoon, a new bride, is desperately unhappy in her marriage and is contemplating the ultimate escape??"the one from which there is no return. Zaitoon, an orphan, is adopted by Qasim, who has left the isolated hill town where he was born and made a home for the two of them in the glittering, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass, A novel by the author of Ice-Candy-Man Zaitoon, a new bride, is desperately unhappy in her marriage and is contemplating the ultimate escape??"the one from which there is no return. Zaitoon, an orphan, is adopted by Qasim, who has left the isolated hill town where he was born and made a home for the two of them in the glittering, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass, Qasim makes a fortune but grows increasingly nostalgic about his life in the mountains. Impulsively, he promises Zaitoon in marriage to a man of his tribe. But for Zaitoon, giving up the civilized city life she remembers to become the bride of this hard, inscrutable husband proves traumatic to the point where she decides to run away, though she knows that by the tribal code the punishment for such an act is death. ???Sidhwa shows a marvellous feel for imagery??"at a breathless pace she weaves her exotic cliffhanger from passion, power, lust, sensuality, cruelty and murder.' ??"Financial Times


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A novel by the author of Ice-Candy-Man Zaitoon, a new bride, is desperately unhappy in her marriage and is contemplating the ultimate escape??"the one from which there is no return. Zaitoon, an orphan, is adopted by Qasim, who has left the isolated hill town where he was born and made a home for the two of them in the glittering, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass, A novel by the author of Ice-Candy-Man Zaitoon, a new bride, is desperately unhappy in her marriage and is contemplating the ultimate escape??"the one from which there is no return. Zaitoon, an orphan, is adopted by Qasim, who has left the isolated hill town where he was born and made a home for the two of them in the glittering, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass, Qasim makes a fortune but grows increasingly nostalgic about his life in the mountains. Impulsively, he promises Zaitoon in marriage to a man of his tribe. But for Zaitoon, giving up the civilized city life she remembers to become the bride of this hard, inscrutable husband proves traumatic to the point where she decides to run away, though she knows that by the tribal code the punishment for such an act is death. ???Sidhwa shows a marvellous feel for imagery??"at a breathless pace she weaves her exotic cliffhanger from passion, power, lust, sensuality, cruelty and murder.' ??"Financial Times

30 review for The Pakistani Bride

  1. 4 out of 5

    Anum Shaharyar

    Her terror of wild beasts drove her to seek the even more fearful nearness of man. It’s hard to write a review for a book by Bapsi Sidhwa, mainly because she holds that venerable title of the first Pakistani English female writer (And how many people can claim to be the first of anything these days?), but also because she’s just so huge in the world of literature. In our part of the globe, where people treat reading as a passing fancy, Bapsi Sidhwa has dominated for years. Reading the Bride felt, Her terror of wild beasts drove her to seek the even more fearful nearness of man. It’s hard to write a review for a book by Bapsi Sidhwa, mainly because she holds that venerable title of the first Pakistani English female writer (And how many people can claim to be the first of anything these days?), but also because she’s just so huge in the world of literature. In our part of the globe, where people treat reading as a passing fancy, Bapsi Sidhwa has dominated for years. Reading the Bride felt, then, as a sort of rite of passage. Something one reads because one should, one must. But it’s hard to write this review as anything other than a textbook-format list of things one could discuss in class, because the moral compass of The Bride is pointed dead centre at An Issue and it is around it that the story is told. Bapsi Sidhwa herself admitted that she wrote this novel after hearing the real-life story of a wife who escaped from the tribal areas only to be caught and executed. So she started writing this novel with a purpose in mind: to teach, to educate, to commiserate, and it shows. The Summary Women the world over, through the ages, asked to be murdered, raped, exploited, enslaved, to get importunately impregnated, beaten-up, bullied, and disinherited. It was the immutable law of nature. What had the tribal girl done to deserve such grotesque retribution? The blurb claims that the story is about Zaitoon, a girl from the plains of Punjab whose adoptive father takes her back to his mountains to wed her off with a clan member. Unhappy and abused, Zaitoon runs away, to be chased after by her enraged husband and the rest of his tribe so they can kill her for this dishonour she has forced on them. This, supposedly, is what the book is about, but it takes a lot of time getting there. In preventing natural outlets for cruelty the developed countries had turned hypocritical and the repressed heat had exploded in nuclear mushrooms. They did not laugh at deformities; they manufactured them. Instead, really, this novel is more about Pakistan. About partition and the people who suffered through it, about lost parents and obsessive husbands, about city life and tribal ways. It’s a fictional account of a very real moment in time, and of people who are drawn as complex as anyone of us: Qasim, the Northern man who loses his family and picks up an orphaned girl during his attempt to flee after the partition. Zaitoon, the young girl whose family gets brutally murdered during an attack on a train trying to cross the border. Carol, the young, unhappy American wife of a Pakistani businessman. Major Mushtaq, involved in an affair with Carol and willing to save the life of a runaway wife. These characters are connected and have their own stories to tell, with large portions of the text dedicated not to Zaitoon but to the hows and whys of tribal pride, adultery and identity politics. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a flaw, of course. Lots of books digress from their blurbs, choosing only to summarize what the author or editor feels is the most important part of the story for the reader to know. What keeps this novel from being thoroughly captivating is, in fact, its attempt to teach a lesson. It errs on the side of entertaining, instead providing ample matter for analysis and discussion, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. After all, lots of books don’t keep the reader enthralled but have something important to say, and Bapsi Sidhwa manages to do the same thing, providing lots of material on... ...cities Lahore – the ancient whore, the handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kinds, the courtesan of Moghul emperors – bedecked and bejewelled, savaged by marauding Sikh hordes – healed by the caressing hands of her British lovers. A little shoddy... like an attractive but aging concubine, ready to bestow surprising delights on those who cared to court her. ...the clash of cultures Qasim was ordered to apologize. He refused, and his clansman was sent for. After a roaring argument, the clansman finally persuaded Qasim to say the necessary words. He uttered them with the grace of a hungry tiger kept from his victim by chains.. Qasim learnt from his cousin that killing, no matter what the provocation, was not acceptable by the laws of this land. ...the atrocities of migration Sikander feels a dampness along his thighs. Glancing over his shoulder, he sees a black wetness snaking its path down the slope of the roof. In desperation, men and women urinate where they sit. He feels the pressure in his own bladder demanding relief. “God, let me hold out until Lahore,” he prays. ...post-partition Pakistan The uneasy city was awakening furtively, like a sick man pondering each movement lest pain recur... looted houses stood vacant, their gaping doors and windows glaring balefully. Men, freshly dead, their bodies pale and velvety, still lay in alleys and in open drains. ...and the post-partition government Jinnah died within a year of creating the new State. He was an old but his death was untimely. The Father of the Nation was replaced by step-fathers. The constitution was tempered with, changed and narrowed. ...post-partition individuals Fifty million people relaxed, breathing freedom. Slacking their self-discipline, they left their litter about, creating terrible problems of public health and safety. Many felt cheated because some of the same old laws, customs, taboos and social distinctions still prevailed. ... and the post-partition architecture The marble canopy that had delicately domed Queen Victoria’s majesty for decades looked naked and bereft without her enormous dour status. Prince Albert, astride his yellowing marble horse, was whisked away one night from the Mall... No one minded. ...looking at a culture from the eyes of an outsider “I love Lahore,” she wrote... “It’s beautiful and ramshackled, ancient and intensely human. I’m a sucker for bullock carts and the dainty donkey carts. They get all snarled up with the Mercedes, bicycles, tractors, trucks, and nasty buzzing three-wheeled rickshaws. The traffic is wild!” ...the treatment of women “Don’t worry, she’ll be okay. If not, too bad. It happens all the time.” “What do you mean, ‘happens all the time’?” “Oh, women get killed for one reason or other... imagined insults, family honour, infidelity...” ...the representation of Pakistani segregation “You know how it is with us – segregation of the sexes. Of course, you only know the sophisticated, those Pakistanis who have learned to mix socially – but in these settlements a man may talk only with unmarriageable women – his mother, his sisters, aunts and grandmothers – a tribesman’s covetous look at the wrong clanswoman provokes a murderous feud.” ...tribal notions of honour and marriage “My God. If she had run away...” The though sickened him. No. Most likely, she had slipped and hurt herself. Possibly even now a mountain leopard was at her. He prayed it might be so. She couldn’t have run away. She wouldn’t dare... ...the stereotypical representation of marriages in uncivilized areas She also grew immune to the tyrannical, animal-trained treatment meted out by Sakhi. In his presence, she drifted into a stupor, until nothing really hurt her. He beat her on the slightest pretext. She no longer thought of marriage with any sense of romance. She now lived only to placate him. The Recommendation Only if one is in the mood for a book that involves analysis and a descriptive introduction to the world of post-partition Pakistan would I recommend this. Although by virtue of it being the first book of Pakistan’s first English writer, it should rate highly on every Pakistani’s to-read list. Recommended. * I review Pakistani Fiction, and talk about Pakistani fiction, and want to talk to people who like to talk about fiction (Pakistani and otherwise, take your pick.) To read this review completely, read more reviews or just contact me so you can talk about books, check out my Blog or follow me on Twitter!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adite

    Bapsi Sidhwa takes you on an unforgettable journey into the tribal areas of Pakistan and leaves you with a range of emotions: awe at the majestic mountains, shock at the primeval conditions, fear for the protagonist and her piteous situation, and anguish at the brutality that women have to face on a day to day basis. The story is about a child, Zaitoon, who is brutally torn apart from her parents on the eve of India-Pakistan independence and the aftermath of the bloody communal riots that follow Bapsi Sidhwa takes you on an unforgettable journey into the tribal areas of Pakistan and leaves you with a range of emotions: awe at the majestic mountains, shock at the primeval conditions, fear for the protagonist and her piteous situation, and anguish at the brutality that women have to face on a day to day basis. The story is about a child, Zaitoon, who is brutally torn apart from her parents on the eve of India-Pakistan independence and the aftermath of the bloody communal riots that followed. A tribal man, Qasim, who is also fleeing the riots rescues her and takes her with him to Pakistan and raises her as his own daughter. The first part of the book deals with Zaitoon's growing up years in Lahore under the benign care of friendly neighbours and a foster parent who yearns to go back to his roots in the savage lands of Kohistan. The second part of the book deals with the after-effects of Qasim's decision to marry off Zaitoon to a fellow-tribal's nephew. The first part of the story is more like a setup for all the action and drama in the second part and at times the details tend to take the readers on a cultural tour of post-independent Pakistan rather than focus on the story. For instance, there is a huge scene about Qasim's visit to a brothel, which while entertaining and providing a peep through a cultural window, seems quite incidental to the story. But the latter part of the story more than makes up for these digressions and Sidhwa keeps a tight hold on the reins of the story as Zaitoon tries to come to terms with her marriage leading to a high-voltage, action-packed climax. One of the sub-plots in the book which deals with an American woman's (Carol) experience of Pakistani society (she is married to a Pakistani man) is quite fascinating as it juxtaposes the dilemmas faced by women in a feudal society such as Pakistan vis-a-vis those faced by women in liberal societies. While Carol's story could have been better intertwined with the main plot, her insights--and eventual coming to terms with a totally alien culture--made the story more nuanced.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Divya Sharma

    'The Pakistani Bride is a story of a girl named Zaitoon, who lost her parents in a very early age during Partition, and was adopted by a tribesman Qasim. They both start living with Nikka and his wife Miriam in Lahore. Since Qasim belongs from hills, living in plains is not at all easy for him. Increasingly getting nostalgic about his life in mountains, Qasim promises Zaitoon that he will marry her off to a boy from his own clan. But little did he realise that one decision of his would change Za 'The Pakistani Bride is a story of a girl named Zaitoon, who lost her parents in a very early age during Partition, and was adopted by a tribesman Qasim. They both start living with Nikka and his wife Miriam in Lahore. Since Qasim belongs from hills, living in plains is not at all easy for him. Increasingly getting nostalgic about his life in mountains, Qasim promises Zaitoon that he will marry her off to a boy from his own clan. But little did he realise that one decision of his would change Zaitoon's entire life. And Zaitoon, growing up all pampered like a flower will end up living a nightmare. ' I have heard so much about Bapsi Sidhwa and her writings that I really wanted to read one of her works soon and that's how this got included in my to-read-list. But after reading, honestly I have mixed feelings. Author has been very descriptive about everything but Zaitoon. Pakistan, its beauty, its people and other characters have been described beautifully. Which is good to some extent but only if you don't compromise with the central focus. Major half of the story is wasted in building plot and the real story starts not until last third of the book. Since its Zaitoon's story, author should have focused in developing her character so that readers can understand her more. That is the reason when the real story starts, you almost reach the climax and then it seems like a hurried ending. Including Carol's angle was also forced is what I feel. All in all the deepness of the subject was missing. Being a regular and passionate reader of middle east, its cultures, myths, hard truths, I have read books very deeply pondering such kind of subjects. And all I can say is that this one didn't move me enough emotionally.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    The time which Sidhwa has portrayed, maybe women were treated that brutally then. I am a Pakistani, i told my dad i have to study and not get married. So i have always done what i wanted and i had the full support of my family....Having said that, i would like to say that THE PAKISTANI BRIDE is not a very reflective title, and it does not represent ALL of us. Women in Pakistan are much more confident now, but I would say that if we look at what is happening in Tribal area till this date, we cant The time which Sidhwa has portrayed, maybe women were treated that brutally then. I am a Pakistani, i told my dad i have to study and not get married. So i have always done what i wanted and i had the full support of my family....Having said that, i would like to say that THE PAKISTANI BRIDE is not a very reflective title, and it does not represent ALL of us. Women in Pakistan are much more confident now, but I would say that if we look at what is happening in Tribal area till this date, we cant say the same. Women are still oppressed, and are mere sex objects. Undeniably, women in the tribal areas of Pakistan face the same circumstances. Those girls who are born in the urban area are LUCKY because whatever Sidhwa has portrayed IS the ugly truth about the rural areas.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    3.5 stars. The story line was good and it had lots of potential but unfortunately, Sidhwa's prose was descriptive and short. There were no feeling put into it. This difference is noticeable if one compares Khaled Hosseini's writing to Bapsi Sidhwa's writing against the same backdrop. One hears a lot about women oppression and feminism. But what this book tries to show is nowhere near that. It is the animosity and brutality that male dominance pose before women. It is unthinkable and horrific. Wom 3.5 stars. The story line was good and it had lots of potential but unfortunately, Sidhwa's prose was descriptive and short. There were no feeling put into it. This difference is noticeable if one compares Khaled Hosseini's writing to Bapsi Sidhwa's writing against the same backdrop. One hears a lot about women oppression and feminism. But what this book tries to show is nowhere near that. It is the animosity and brutality that male dominance pose before women. It is unthinkable and horrific. Women are not here to protect a man's honour, serve him and give borth. thier life is their own and they deserve respect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mmars

    After reading "Other Voices, Other Rooms" I realized how little Pakistani fiction I had read, and what relatively little is available to Western readers. I was looking something covering a wider swath of the country written through the eyes of a Pakistani. This book fit that bill. During the Partition in 1947, Qasim, who has lost his wife and children joins refugees fleeing India for Pakistan. In the confusion of a train wreck, he comes across 5-year-old Zaitoon, who has hopelessly become separa After reading "Other Voices, Other Rooms" I realized how little Pakistani fiction I had read, and what relatively little is available to Western readers. I was looking something covering a wider swath of the country written through the eyes of a Pakistani. This book fit that bill. During the Partition in 1947, Qasim, who has lost his wife and children joins refugees fleeing India for Pakistan. In the confusion of a train wreck, he comes across 5-year-old Zaitoon, who has hopelessly become separated from her parents. He takes her in as his own and secures a place for them to live in Lahore. The first third of the book covers this part of Zaitoon's life. She eventually becomes the "Pakistani Bride" but the focus here is on her father and the powerful merchant Nikka and his devout Muslim wife Miriam who cares for Zaitoon and brings her into the women's world. In this section, Sidwa ably conveyed the daily life of urban middle class Pakistanis. But after about ten years, Qasim decides she should marry someone from the beautiful mountains of his youth. Thus, they set off to what is today's Taliban country. Life there 50 years ago was harsh and controlled by tribal rule. A great highway is being built through the mountains and change is afoot. They reach a military/construction camp across a stream from where Zaitoon will marry. But here, there is an English woman. I struggled with her character. It is difficult living post-9/11 to think that an American woman could be so naive. But in the late-50s, American women's job possibilities were limited, and the lure of an exotic life, which women who served in WWII got a taste of, could entice one to marry a foreign man and move to his country. After one night's stay, Qasim and Zaitoon cross the river and Zaitoon is married off. She also is naieve to this harsh and violent lifestyle. From here I must stop with the telling of the story. To do so would spoil everything. This book suffers from some first novel disjointedness and a misleading title. Perhaps just "Zaitoon" would have said enough. But I stayed up late finishing it and thought it presented a cross-section of the population. I disagree with readers who felt only a violent side of Pakistanis was shown. Miriam was a very caring woman and Qasim was a good father to Zaitoon. He did his best. They loved each other. There were vast economic differences. Sidwa incorporated a variety of regional populations. I was not disappointed, and unlike some other reviewers. The ending was foreshadowed and her future was told.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I was disappointed in this book, especially since I enjoyed Sidhwa's other novels so much. The prose is lush and descriptive, but the book lacks a central focus. Until the last third of the story, the title character is only peripheral to the plot, and the focus is on her adoptive father. It shifts abruptly, and throws the reader into the bride's story without ever developing her character for the reader. There is also a brief focus on an American character. This may make sense for certain eleme I was disappointed in this book, especially since I enjoyed Sidhwa's other novels so much. The prose is lush and descriptive, but the book lacks a central focus. Until the last third of the story, the title character is only peripheral to the plot, and the focus is on her adoptive father. It shifts abruptly, and throws the reader into the bride's story without ever developing her character for the reader. There is also a brief focus on an American character. This may make sense for certain elements of the plot, and is probably intended to highlight the contrast between cultures (tribal vs. plains, Pakistani vs. western), but it doesn't really fit. Good prose, but muddy focus.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara Khan

    'the earth is not easy to carve up. india required a deft and sensitive surgeon, but the British, steeped in domestic preoccupation, hastily and carelessly butchered it. they were not deliberately mischievous---only cruelly negligent!' 'lahore---the ancient whore, the handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kings, the courtesan of Mogul emperors---bedecked and bejewelled, savaged by marauding Sikh hordes---healed by caressing hands of her British lovers.' After reading my first book by Sidhwa, i am f 'the earth is not easy to carve up. india required a deft and sensitive surgeon, but the British, steeped in domestic preoccupation, hastily and carelessly butchered it. they were not deliberately mischievous---only cruelly negligent!' 'lahore---the ancient whore, the handmaiden of dimly remembered Hindu kings, the courtesan of Mogul emperors---bedecked and bejewelled, savaged by marauding Sikh hordes---healed by caressing hands of her British lovers.' After reading my first book by Sidhwa, i am forever and ever her fan... can't remember the last time I enjoyed reading a book so much...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sadia27

    Wow! Where do I begin sharing my thoughts on this book?! There is much at play in this novel and having read reviews I almost reconsidered reading it myself. Eventually deciding against it, I was still bracing myself to read a disappointing novel. However, I'm glad I did read this or I would have surely missed out on an otherwise well-written book. While this novel is set in the years following shortly after the Partition of India and Pakistan and centred around Qasim (a Kohistanti man) and his Wow! Where do I begin sharing my thoughts on this book?! There is much at play in this novel and having read reviews I almost reconsidered reading it myself. Eventually deciding against it, I was still bracing myself to read a disappointing novel. However, I'm glad I did read this or I would have surely missed out on an otherwise well-written book. While this novel is set in the years following shortly after the Partition of India and Pakistan and centred around Qasim (a Kohistanti man) and his adopted daughter Zaitoon (a Punjabi), I could not help but notice that Bapsi Sidhwa touches on issues that still pose challenges to Pakistani society today be it corruption, violence against women, fuedalism/tribalism, or honour crimes. Anyone who read The Pakistani Bride and felt offended by its portrayal of life in Pakistan is either in denial or hasn't had the (dis)pleasure of venturing out to tribal or rural areas in Pakistani provinces where such occurrences DO take place and such cruelties ARE meted out to women albeit not a large majority. To deny what goes on in these areas of Pakistan simply because one belongs to a privileged strata of society does not make the issues faced by these 'others' disappear. And to turn a blind eye to their plight and expect others to do the same so as not to desecrate the holy image of Pakistan is unfair. Thus, it's best to read this book without rose-tinted glasses or you'll find yourself getting offended at pretty much everything this story has to offer. The title of the book falls short of representing the actual story line. Although a short book, Bapsi Sidhwa has used needless descriptive imagery which only prolongs the story. It's only until Zaitoon is taken to Kohistan and siphoned off to Qasim's nephew in marriage that it seems as though someone has hit the fast-forward button on this story and it finally begins to take shape. Qasim, in his longing for his tribal home, wants Zaitoon to live the life he left behind thinking it best for her while Zaitoon cannot seem to adjust. Running parallel to Zaitoon's story in Kohistan, is the story of Carol, an American girl married to an Army officer posted in the same area. Carol's character represents the complexities of an outsider who brings with her notions of exoticism, Orientalism, and White Man's Burden all in one go. Carol is trapped in a quagmire where she cannot decipher whether she falls in love with men for the security or possessiveness they offer and seems to fall in love with just about any man who may look her way with lust or affection. Grappling with her own confusion and insecurities she looks down upon Pakistani women and regards Pakistan as a place that requires her to save it. Based on the lives of the characters of Zaitoon and Carol, it is interesting how this story unfolds and how everything falls into place.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lara Zuberi

    I took a long time to read this book. It may have been partly because it wasn't until the second half, that I felt gripped by the story. Through the second half, however, I felt the impact of this well-told tale, and it weighed heavy on me. The story is about a young girl, zaitoon, who finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to a person from the mountains, and of a vastly different culture from her own. She attempts an escape once things become unbearable, and it is this escape through the I took a long time to read this book. It may have been partly because it wasn't until the second half, that I felt gripped by the story. Through the second half, however, I felt the impact of this well-told tale, and it weighed heavy on me. The story is about a young girl, zaitoon, who finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage to a person from the mountains, and of a vastly different culture from her own. She attempts an escape once things become unbearable, and it is this escape through the treacherous mountains that is likely to stay with me in all its pain and emotion. It is during this journey, that one feels zaitoons plight and her womanly strength in the face of her womanly vulnerabilities. It also makes the reader understand the relevance of the detailed descriptions of the mountains in the earlier part of the book. I liked the fact that her father and her husband, though both misogynistic, were not painted as black and white heartless villains, but instead were described as unfair creations of an unfair society with century-long mindsets that they were unable to escape. Her husband wished for her death more than for her to be found alive, because his honor would then be spared. I also enjoyed the parallel story of the American woman who was married to a Pakistani man who was modern on the surface, but had been unable to separate himself from the egotistical attitudes of his men-folk. She feels trapped in the same way as Zaitoon, although to the outside world, she appears a free spirited woman living her life as she pleases. Their paths cross briefly, and each woman sees the other as being from a different world, and yet recognizing on a subconscious level, the vulnerabilities of the other. The only thing I wish was different, was that the first several chapters are not about Zaitoon, so the connection the reader develops, could have been further enhanced if more pages had been dedicated to her character building. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful, haunting, tragic tale which is very telling of the expected roles of men and women in that part of the world, and how going against tradition is synonymous with extreme danger.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Veena

    a very beautifully written book which describes the state of women in eastern countries. all has been said about on how it portrays pakistan in a bad light and women have all the freedom there. but i would love to see some intellectual souls seeing he book as a piece of literature. here is a quote from the book: a beautifully written passage "A knot of dancing, laughing children had circled an almost limbless beggar. Every time he succeeded in sitting upright the children playfully knocked him ove a very beautifully written book which describes the state of women in eastern countries. all has been said about on how it portrays pakistan in a bad light and women have all the freedom there. but i would love to see some intellectual souls seeing he book as a piece of literature. here is a quote from the book: a beautifully written passage "A knot of dancing, laughing children had circled an almost limbless beggar. Every time he succeeded in sitting upright the children playfully knocked him over. The men in the bazaar picked their teeth laughed indulgently. She had noticed this cruel habit of jeering at deformities before, and sick to her stomach wanted to scream at the men to stop the children. ‘They’ll wonder why you are fussing,’ Farukh had said, laughing himself, ‘They won’t see your point of view at all, dear – every nation has its own outlet for cruelty.’ Perhaps he was right. In preventing natural outlets for cruelty the developed countries had turned hypocritical and the repressed heat had exploded in nuclear mushrooms. They did not laugh at deformities: they manufactured them." words like "angrez", "put puttering", "zennanah" only add to a whiff of eastern scent to the story. it also well describes the state of women all over the world which will call for your empathy towards women. Carol meanwhile lay in her room, staring into the dark. ‘. . . asked for it,’ isn’t that what Farukh had said? Women the world over, through the ages, asked to be murdered, raped, exploited, enslaved, to get importunately impregnated, beaten-up, bullied and disinherited. It was an immutable law of nature. even thought the story is a little slow paced and involves too many characters, they are well designed to fit the bill. i absolutely loved the book. shall definitely read more books by the author. leaving you with a beautiful stanza by iqbal, which again is mentioned in the book. " Khudi ko kar buland itna, Heighten your ‘khudi’ to such majesty, ke har takdeer say pahaylay that before every turn of fate Khuda banday say khud poochay, God himself asks man – ‘Buta teri raza kya hai?’ ‘Tell me, what do you wish?’"

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I liked this book very much. Lately I have been facinated with the culture, and this books displayed a new view on the religion and cultural values. I an beginning to have a understanding and appreciation for why things are the way they are. I see that it didnt get great reviews from other goodreads members. I am not certain but I believe this book was written or published in the 80's and may have been translated based on some of the terms used.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amela

    I really wanted to like this book; it had so much potential! The storyline was good, but didn't even come in play until the last third of the book, and the ending was just disappointing. Reading about the experiences of these women though, it was terrifying to imagine that this could possibly be based on real lives, of real women; I cannot believe people live this way. Great cultural insight and perspective, just could have been written better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jawad Khalid

    It was all about sheer will power. It just proves that we build our own destiny. The imagery describing the Pakiatani North is exquisite. Sidhwa describes it just too well. Plus the novel provides an insight into the lives of Kohistani people. The sexual life and environment in Pakistan is also delineated quite well. An interesting read overall!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pragya Bhatt

    This book starts off very slowly, but builds up momentum. I like the way the author has woven complex characters and tried to show that everyone has their own reality, yet are somehow connected to each other. I like that all her characters have shades of gray and the fact that she shows that you can find unexpected kindness even in the face of brutal adversity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Polly

    Interesting for the setting of Northern Pakistan around the time of partition, about the life of a young girl "adopted" by a bereaved migrating man and later sent back into the northern tribal territory. Not particularly well-written. Plot did not hold together well and writing was not that good and characters were one-dimensional but still interesting for the setting and time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emad Nadim

    Easygoing style making this a quick read. Insightful and emotional especially when it comes to colossal tragedies in the most personal manner. Plenty of mini cliffhangers along the way as it builds to a somewhat predictable climax and kept me engaged all the way. Interesting human perspectives in the beginning about the way the India-Pakistan partition changed people so intimately.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nusrat Mahmood

    The first half was very much enjoyable and the second half was just meh! or I'm in a very bad reading slump! :(

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wsm

    Ice Candy Man,also published as Cracking India is Bapsi Sidhwa's masterpiece.The rest of her books are nowhere near as good.The Pakistani Bride is fairly entertaining but isn't particularly memorable.There is little I remember about it a few years after reading it except the opening few chapters which appear a continuation of Cracking India.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I love this authors stories - one can feel her intrinsic knowledge of Pakistan - it is not just a story she has heard from others there is an element that is only captured if one has lived in a place and knows it in their heart. I especially loved the exploration women within the cultural contexts of Pakistan and how they resist and find their way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Banazeer

    I have been traveling to Gilgit and Hunza through Kohistan and I am always blown away by the horrific stories these mesmerizing mountains hide within. Not much has been changed since the time this novel was published, 10 years and we still hear the stories of w omen being killed in the name of honor and for what not. For some strange reasons I could relate to Zaitoon. The experience of reading this book might be different for different readers but for me it was so personal.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mahak Gambhir

    Great story, fairly well written, totally worth a read. Character development is weak, but is somewhat compensated by the steady flow in the plot. The end seems rushed and a little too far-fetched, and some episodes highly unnecessary and boring. Yet the attempt to portray the many aspects of tribal as well as urban life in Pakistan is highly appreciable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    claudia bellemo

    Bello e crudo. Un libro che alle superiori dovrebbero consigliare per concepire a pieno la difficile situazione delle donne nel pluriculturalismo indiano. Scritto con stile e puntualità #againsttheworld

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hiba

    Pretty good until the end. The ending was downright crappy, it was like Bapsi was running out of space, so she left the main protagonist hanging, and all of us scratching our heads. Although, since it's Bapsi Sidhwa, I cannot bear giving her anything less than 3 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shylashree Chikkamuniyappa

    The book started out great and liked her writing style but hated the way the story ended. Qasim, a Khosthani tribal who lost his family and raises an orphan finally seems like a butcher taking Zaitoon as the sacrificial goat back to his home and leaving her there with strangers. Terrible !!!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

    Always a fan of Sidhwa, Bapsi has given words to the mute lady in red on her big day. In today's Pakistani society however brides are speaking their mind and things are changing for the better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Saadia Sabir

    It is magical! I would have loved little more details to the life of Zaitoon after she managed to escape.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Iworsky

    3.5 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tehreem Jabbar

    Different from the summary!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

    Wonderful This was a quick and exciting read. The characters are full of life and the landscape of the country/city is described in exquisite detail.

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