A Season for Martyrs

A Season for Martyrs

3.55 (114 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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The U.S. literary debut of an up-and-coming Pakistani novelist and journalist.

Ali Sikandar is assigned to cover the arrival of Benazir Bhutto, the opposition leader who has returned home to Karachi after eight years of exile to take part in the presidential race. Already eager to leave for college in the U.S. and marry his forbidden Hindu girlfriend, Ali loses a friend in a horrific explosion and finds himself swept up in events larger than his individual struggle for identity and love when he joins the People's Resistance Movement, a group that opposes President Musharraf. Amidst deadly terrorist attacks and protest marches, this contemporary narrative thread weaves in flashbacks that chronicle the deep and beautiful tales of Pakistani history, of the mythical gods who once protected this land. Bina Shah, a journalist herself and now a NYT op-ed writer, illustrates with extraordinary depth and keen observation into daily life the many contradictions of a country struggling to make peace with itself.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 282 pages
  • 132 x 201 x 25mm | 318g
  • English
  • 1883285615
  • 9781883285616
  • 1,437,308

Review quote

"Shah's (Slum Child) spirited novel is set in modern Pakistan and is steeped in its rich Sindhi heritage and culture. Twenty-five-year old Ali Sikandar works as a TV journalist for the City24 News station in Karachi when Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's charismatic former Prime Minister, makes her triumphant return home from her exile in October 2007. As the eldest son of the Sikandar family, Ali becomes the patriarch after his father, a wealthy Sindhi landowner, abandons his wife and children to marry a second, younger wife. Ali, who is Muslim, has a Hindu girlfriend, Sunita Lalwani, and they have to shield their relationship from their families. Ali also conceals his Sindhi feudal class origins from Sunita due to the public's negative opinion of the Sindhis. Ali chafes under his burdensome responsibilities and secretly makes plans to escape and study business administration abroad in the United States, but has an abrupt change of heart at the last minute, despite his crumbling relationship with Sunita. When President Musharraf shuts down his TV station, the politically indifferent Ali takes a new interest in Bhutto's celebrated reentry, and finding a new purpose, he pours his soul into Bhutto's reformist campaign at considerable personal risk. As it hurtles toward its violent climax, Shah's novel is both fascinating and eye-opening."--Publishers Weekly
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Rating details

114 ratings
3.55 out of 5 stars
5 20% (23)
4 32% (37)
3 32% (37)
2 12% (14)
1 3% (3)
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