Punjab Research Group

Fiction from Pakistan – Poignant Punjab

Posted in Book reviews by Pippa on March 13, 2009

Feb 19th 2009
From The Economist print edition

IN PAKISTAN life is shaped as much by who you know as what you do. In this remarkable debut, a range of characters rich in practical intelligence demonstrate the importance of influence. An electrician burdened with 12 daughters persuades his employer to give him a motorcycle; a servant sleeps her way into maintaining her position in a Lahore household; a down-at-heel woman pleads for a post with a distant rich relation.

Each is practising safarish (recommendation), manipulating the social networks that determine how you rise or fall. There is little grand politics here and no airport fiction fare about terrorists or tribal areas. Each of these eight interconnected stories illustrates elements of Pakistan that are familiar to those who live there, though rarely well understood outside. The grand feudals, with their estates, impeccable manners and bootlegged Scotch, see their fortunes changing. A new generation is rising to challenge them, enriched by business and politics as much as land. The struggle to survive and the risks of failure are all described. It is too easy to tumble into the brothels of Lahore or become one of the many “sparrows” begging on the streets.


Read further: http://www.economist.com/books/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13139507&fsrc=rss


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