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The Bride [Hardcover]

Bapsi Sidhwa
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Sept. 15 1983
The Bride is a novel set in the isolated reaches of the Hamaliyas in Nothern Pakistan, along the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan to China. Qasim, a mountain tribsman, adopts an orphaned girl, Zaitoon, and brings her up in the glittering, bustling, decadent city of Lahore. As the years pass, Qasim grows nostalgic about his life in the mountains; and in the fifteen-year-old girl's romantic imagination she sees a region of tall, light-skinned men, who roam the Himalayas like gods. Impulsively, Qasim promises Zaitoon in marriage to a man of his tribe. But the ancient, harsh customs and the behavior of her husband prove impossible for the bride to live with - though the only escape is one from which there is no return.

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Quotes from reviews of 'The Bride'

Alamgir Hashmi in "World Literature Today": "The two story lines (Zaitoons and Carol's), combine to produce a splendid tale - at a level far above that which is familiar in Pakistani Anglophone writing."

"Jerusalem Post": "The author manages to capture the conflict of pride and kindness in the Moslem psyche. She also portrays beautifully a Pakistan still in a state of upheaval, and as yet confused as to its destiny and future."

Andrew Sinclair in the London "Times": "Bapsi Sidhwa is a powerful and dramatic novelist who knows how to flesh out a story."

"Good Housekeeping": "What I loved about 'The Bride" was its passion and vitality. Bapsi Sidhwa writes with immense vigour and liveliness and she has brought her world and people exuberantly to life."

Penelope Lively in "The Sunday Telegraph": "There is plenty of vivid and forceful writing here; the smothering rules of a repressive religion are seen in action - the fetid female 'cencanna,' the suppressed and violent sexuality of the men."

"Financial Times": "Sidhwa shows a marvellous feel for imagery - at a breathless pace she weaves her exotic cliffhanger from passion, power, lust, sensuality, cruelty and murder."

"The Yorkshire Post": "Indian novelist Bapsi Sidhwa's first novel, 'The Crow Eaters' was a comic delight. Her second, 'The Bride' displays the same fesh storytelling and keen eye for the hilarious idiosyncracies of human life, but its core is serious - the harsh and lonely plght of women among the Northern tribes......this is a fluent and lively novel, crowded with interest - not the least of which is the description of the secret, womb-like world of purdah and the women's quarters."

"The Examiner": "SWhat a wonderfully descriptive writer she is, really introducing the reader into a new world. One hopes that there will be many more novels from the pen of this most sensitive writer."

Gitanjali Singh in "Far Eastern Economic Review": 'The Bride' is fast moving and interesting enough. Sidhwa's genius, however, lies in her style. She has a rare sense of fun that is irresisible. The naturalness of her descriptions of the physcial - be it the look, the body or the sexual act - is a unique feature among the Subcontinent's women writers."

"Company": "Candour compels the admission that recent novels of India, albeit prize-winning and peerless of prose, have not always been easy on the digestion. But those shamed to admit they never managed to complete the weightier Raj writings should turn with fearless appetites to Bapsi Sidhwa's 'The Bride.' Sidhwa beckons us deep into the primitve hills of Kohistan, then to bazaar-spiced Lahore at the crisis of Partition."

"The Telegraph": "Bapsi Sidhwa's 'The Bride' reveals to the western reader a way of life that is completely alien. Sidhwa writes with the same vivacity that made the author's first novel, 'The Crow Eaters' so memorable."

"India Abroad": Iingenious and dramnatic, Sidhwa's forceful literary traits make 'The Bride' one of the finest books to come out of the expanding South Asian literary scene."

Starred review -" Kirkus" "With Sidhwa's keen awareness of breath-stopping scenery, of complex societies, of the Muslim woman's peculiar strengths and acute vulnerabilities: a delicate tale of power and intelligence, never over-bearing in its message-delivery."

"Publishers Weekly": "Sidhwa, a Pakistani, writes dramatically of marriage, loyalty, honor and their conflict with old ways in this well-told tale."

"Houston Chronicle": "There is a Kiplingesque quality to Sidhwa's writing, the congenital ability to make one feel the ambiance of the locale: the stifling heat, the poverty, and yet the warmth which exists between families .....There is an inocent eroticism in 'The Bride' which is both touching and illustrative of the complete naivete the child brings to the wedding bed."

"Atlanta Journal & Constitution": With an entertaining, highly readable writing style, Ms. Sidhwa draws the reader into Pakistan and its peculiar - and yet universal - problems. Her conclusion, not completely definitive, does what any good book does. It leaves us wanting more."

Back to the Bapsi Sidhwa homepage

bsidhwa@brandeis.edu -- Publisher Comments

About the Author

Distinguished international writer Bapsi Sidhwa lives in America but travels frequently to the Indian subcontinent. She has published four novels: An American Brat, Cracking India, The Bride and The Crow Eaters, and she has been translated into German, French, Italian and Russian.

Among her many honors Sidhwa received the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award in 1994, the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest national honor in the arts, and the LiBeraturepreis in Germany. Ms. Sidhwa has also been a Bunting Fellowship at Radcliffe/Harvard. Sidhwa, who was on the advisory committee to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Women's Development, has taught at Columbia University, University of Houston, Mount Holyoke College, and currently holds the Fanny Hurst position at Brandeis University. Cracking India (a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and a Quality Paperback Book Club selection), has been made into the film Earth by noted Canadian director Deepa Mehta. Coming on the heels of Mehtas award winning film Fire, Earth is scheduled for release in the United States in the fall of 1999.


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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 star read Sept. 28 2002
Format:Hardcover
A slow starter, but an excellent read. The main characters are a man, Qasim, who marries when he is 10 years old and a child, Zaitoon, who loses her parents when she is 5. Qasim becomes Zaitoon's father and we watch them become older in a newly-formed Pakistan. Zaitoon turns 16 and a marriage is arranged for her. It's a beautiful story that touches upon certain aspects of India that I've found are glossed over in other Indian novels: the underground and bad arranged marriages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayal of various cultures within Pakistan Nov. 17 1998
By Donna Davis Idrees (bbwmor2luv@hotmail.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read this book while living in Pakistan. As an american woman married to a Pakistani man and living in Islamabad's middle class, I could readily identify with many characters in this book. Most books written about this culture are usually judgemental or are from a western viewpoint and therefore erroneous.
The Bride begins at the time of The Partition, when India and Pakistan became two separate, independent countries following centuries of British rule. Because of unexpected events, an older unmarried Pathan man becomes the foster father of a Punjabi infant girl. He settles with the infant girl in Lahore (Punjab). As he gets older he fondly remembers his childhood in the NWFP. He sees the girl getting older and arranges a marriage for her with a Pathan family in NWFP. Against her will, she is married to a man she has never met and moves to a land she has never seen. She desperately wants to return to her kind foster father and escape the harsh and brutal living of the NWFP.
You will have to read this excellent book to find out how this story unfolds.
Punjabi and Pathan cultures are very disparate. The Punjab is a well-travelled, flat terrain farming province. The NWFP is mountainous and closed off to the outside world. The punjabi society is one of many cultures, ideas, religions and people. The NWFP society tends to be much more clannish, traditional, not accepting of change. Ms. Sidhwa does an excellent job of portraying both cultures and how they impact the life of this young girl. The conclusion of the novel is a realistic scenario, one that a young woman in today's Pakistan would face if in the same situation. Additionally, Ms. Sidhwa's portrayal of a young american woman is deadly accurate, and, in my opinion, a scathing commentary on the ignorance, self-centeredness and ethnocentrism of the first-world.
4.0 out of 5 stars same book as "pakistani bride" April 9 2011
By apocalypse blonde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
for those of you that dont know, this bk was republished under the title "the pakistani bride." "ice man candy" was also republished under the title "cracking india."
this is an amazing bk though, already wrote the review for the other though
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 star read Sept. 28 2002
By wordfiendca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A slow starter, but an excellent read. The main characters are a man, Qasim, who marries when he is 10 years old and a child, Zaitoon, who loses her parents when she is 5. Qasim becomes Zaitoon's father and we watch them become older in a newly-formed Pakistan. Zaitoon turns 16 and a marriage is arranged for her. It's a beautiful story that touches upon certain aspects of India that I've found are glossed over in other Indian novels: the underground and bad arranged marriages.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but Definitely not Dull Sept. 23 2000
By Paul White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Through her characters in The Bride, Bapsi Sidhwa introduces and combines vastly different worlds seamlessly. The novel is infused with pathos through understated humour but overwhelming humanity. The result is that rarest of commodities, "a good read".
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