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The Pakistani Bride [Paperback]

Bapsi Sidhwa

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Book Description

July 2 2001
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. This is a novel on women, tribals and contemporary politics.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (July 2 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140148116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140148114
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,511,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fiction with just enough amount of history! July 14 2008
By The One Eyed Turtle - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bapsi Sidhwa is an extraordinary writer. She seems to capture the essence of culture and tradition within Pakistan.
The characters are well formed and the author follows this journey quite well with a mesh of "why" for the unanswered cultural questions.
This is a part of the world that evokes great ambivalence for me the reader, because I want to criticize the abuse of women and can't seem to understand why they don't run away. Sidhwa anticipates this feeling and tries to resolve it in her novel.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written Nov. 26 2013
By a cup of coffee and a fairy tale - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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?’"
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous book! Oct. 26 2011
By Sally - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I have read in years. It is a fascinating story as well as a page turner. I couldn't put it down.
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding a bit more Sept. 6 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book, riveting story. A great way to see deep into the lives of women in Pakistan. Also, much more understanding of what happens when westerners attempt to ignore local beliefs.
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching tale! Aug. 31 2013
By Adite Banerjie - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.

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. A riveting read.

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