Unmarriageable

Unmarriageable : A Novel

3.82 (992 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry--until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider. "A fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society."--NPR

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won't make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more. When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys's lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad "Bungles" Bingla, the wildly successful--and single--entrepreneur. But Bungles's friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal--and Alys begins to realize that Darsee's brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance. Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen's beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood. Praise for Unmarriageable "Delightful . . . Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture. . . . [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes."--Star Tribune "Thoroughly charming."--New York Post "[A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 33.02mm | 544.31g
  • Ballantine Books Inc.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1524799718
  • 9781524799717

Review quote

"As with Austen, whose books could be read as fun and simple romances or acerbic examinations of class and women's choices (and lack thereof), Kamal's Unmarriageable succeeds in being both a deliciously readable romantic comedy and a commentary on class in post-colonial, post-partition Pakistan, where the effects of the British Empire still reverberate. . . . Both a fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society."--NPR "Delightful . . . Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture. It's Pakistan circa 2001, when women's rights were expanding but religious attitudes were becoming more strict. [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes."--Star Tribune "Thoroughly charming."--New York Post "[A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Unmarriageable is a joy to read! It transforms a familiar story into something new and fresh and different, but keeps all of the warmth and intelligence of the original. I loved everything about these characters and spending time in their world."--Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date "Unmarriageable raises an eyebrow at a society that views marriage as the ultimate prize for women. Crackling with witty dialogue, family tensions, humor, and rich details of life in contemporary Pakistan, it tells an entirely new story about love, luck, and literature."--Balli Kaur Jaswal

"A book simmering with life, language, intellect--and delicious Pakistani cuisine. It will leave readers' hearts and souls content and their mouths watering."--Katherine Chen, author of Mary B "The perfect book for the armchair traveler, offering an insider's view into a fascinating country and culture--including a peek at what the wedding of the year looks like in Pakistan. This one is going directly on my keeper shelf; I loved it."--Joshilyn Jackson, author of The Almost Sisters "Charming and insightful, Unmarriageable connects the concerns of women across time and cultures in this delightful debut."
--Vanessa Hua, author of A River of Stars "Unmarriageable is a joyride featuring all the beloved Austen characters with a Pakistani twist, drawing on universal themes of love, passion, and the healing nature of tea. I read it in one gulp!" --Amulya Malladi, author of A House for Happy Mothers "Irreverent, witty, and imaginative . . . Austen herself would have enjoyed Kamal's deft retelling of her novel, while sipping a cup of chai."
--Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us
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About Soniah Kamal

Soniah Kamal's debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and the Karachi Literature Festival-Embassy of France Prize. Her TEDx Talk is about regrets and second chances. Kamal's award-winning work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, BuzzFeed, Catapult, and Literary Hub.
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Rating details

992 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 26% (255)
4 41% (409)
3 25% (249)
2 6% (57)
1 2% (22)
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