It’s over to Mandie now who also has her review of No Honour, the brand new novel from Awais Khan. If you’d like to read my thoughts then you can find them right here. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…
In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.
Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.
To many people Abida would seem like a normal teenager, one who likes to push the boundaries set by her parents, likes to be free and has feelings for a particular boy in her village and takes every opportunity that she can to meet with him. The difference is that this has to be done in secret as should she be found out then there could be severe consequences for her and her family as this kind of behaviour is not acceptableand as the reader you will know what can happen to girls that go against what is believed is right and it is definitely not something that you would wish on anyone.
When Abida finds herself in a situation that would certainly mean her becoming another victim to the tradition of honour killings it is only the true determination of her father that saves her from this particular fate but what follows does have you wondering if she has escaped one kind of hell for another. Betrayed by the man she thought loved her, she is sold first into prostitution and then on to a fate far worse with no possible hope of ever seeing her family again. What she had not counted on was that once again her father Jamil was willing to risk everything to find his daughter.
Whilst the book may start with an honour killing there is so much more to the story that this particularly barbaric tradition. It highlights the general plight of many women who are subjected to a very traditional way of life where they are seen as second-class citizens and ruled by the men in their families and must behave in a way that they determine should not bring shame on their names.
This is a book that will challenge every possible emotion as you follow Abida as she finds a way to survive her life. Although this book is shocking at times you can always sense that despite everything, Abida is a fighter who never gives up hope, something she has clearly inherited from her father Jamil. Awais Khan has created some truly memorable characters and situations that will certainly stay with me for quite some time by tackling a topic with sensitivity and honesty. His writing transports you from the remote villages to the busy city of Lahore, giving a real feeling of what it is like to live and survive there.
Whilst I have always known that honour killings are still practiced I have never truly understood what this means until now and whilst this may be fiction I have to hope that one day with books like this and authors like Awais Khan there can be a way forward where this no longer happens to women who dare to follow their hearts.
About the Author
Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University. He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He is currently working on his third book. When not working, he has his nose buried in a book. He lives in Lahore.
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