Book Reviews

FEMALE AUTHORS


Author: Aisha Saeed
Publishing Year: 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Fact: The author is one of the founding members of the We Need Diverse Books campaign.

Recommended for everyone who argues the arranged marriage vs love marriage debate / for young adult desi literature.



Title: The Bride
Author: Bapsi Sidhwa
Publishing year: 1997
Genre: Historical Fiction
Fact: It is the first English novel by Pakistan's first female English author.

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of post-partition literature / interested in descriptions of desi life / looking forward to having detailed discussions about the treatment of women during the 50's and 60's in Pakistan.
Title: Cracking India
Author: Bapsi Sidhwa
Publishing year: 1988
Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Fact: It features a protagonist with a disability. Plus points for representation.

Recommended for everyone who wants to read partition literature / is unafraid of facing a little blood and gore / interested in the history of the subcontinent.
Title: Slum Child
Author: Bina Shah
Published in: 2010
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Fact: It is one of the few Pakistani books to feature a minority protagonist.

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of Pakistani literature / interested in depictions of religious minorities in Pakistan / looking forward to having detailed discussions about strong female characters.
Author: Hina Tabbassum
Published in: 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Short Stories
Fact: It is possibly the worst Pakistani story ever.

Recommended for people wanting to read really bad fiction.


Title: Burnt Shadows
Author: Kamila Shamsie
Publishing year: 2009
Genre: Historical Fiction
Fact: It was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist (2009) and won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award (2010).

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of historical fiction / interested in geopolitical change and its effects on the lives of people / looking for a serious, good read.
Title: Home Fire
Author: Kamila Shamsie
Publishing year: 2017
Genre: Literary Fiction
Fact: It was a Man Booker Prize nominee for longlist (2017), Woman's Prize for Fiction nominee (2017), and Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2017).

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of well written relationships / interested in reading adaptations of Greek plays / looking for a serious, good read.
Title: Salt and Saffron
Author: Kamila Shamsie
Publishing year: 2000
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
Fact: This book features a character who is mute by choice. Doesn't get more interesting than that.

Recommended for everyone who likes partition literature / interested in reading the best Pakistan has to offer.
Title: In the City by the Sea
Author: Kamila Shamsie
Publishing year: 1998
Genre: Contemporary
Fact: This is Kamila Shamsie's first novel.

Recommended for those who love Karachi / want to read through the eyes of a middle grade protagonist / are Kamila Shamsie fans.
Title: Ashes, Wine and Dust
Author: Kanza Javed
Publishing year: 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Fact: It was shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize.

Recommended for people who are interested in reading all the Pakistani female authors / supporting young writers / really interested in boring, moody protagonists.
Title: Torn Pages
Author: Lara Zuberi
Publishing year: 2018
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Fact: The protagonist is a writer, so most of the writing experiences mentioned are fairly autobiographical.

Recommended for everyone interested in the writing process / is a fan of the past-present flips method of storytelling.
Author: Madiha Sattar
Publishing year: 2018
Genre: Short Stories, Contemporary
Recommended for people wanting to read about missing people.
Author: Roopa Farooki
Publishing year: 2009
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Fact: This is one of the few Pakistani novels dealing with mental health issues.

Recommended for everyone interested in protagonists with mental health problems / Asperger's / books which focus on family life.
 



Title: Karachi, You'r Killing Me!
Author: Saba Imtiaz
Publishing year: 2014
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Chick lit
Fact: This novel has been made into a movie starring Sonakshi Sinha.


Recommended for everyone who is a fan of funny books / interested in novels which use media as a setting / looking for a light, fun read.


Title: How it Happened
Author: Shazaf Fatima Haider
Publishing year: 2012
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Chick lit, Young Adult
Fact: This is one of the few Pakistani books that is centered on family life completely.

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of romantic comedies / interested in novels which focus on relationships / in the mood for a book which is very desi in its themes.



Title: Thinner than Skin
Author: Uzma Aslam Khan
Publishing year: 2010.
Genre: Literary Fiction
Fact: It was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize (2012) and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature (2014).

Recommended only for those who are interested in vague metaphorical references / pretentious writing / the complex demographics of Pakistan's northern areas.


Title: Haveli
Author: Zeenat Mahal
Publishing year: 2013
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction
Fact: This book reads exactly like an indian soap opera.

Recommended only for those who are interested in cheesy chick lit, cliched descriptions and mindless entertainment.




MALE AUTHORS



Title: The Scatter Here is Too Great
Author: Bilal Tanweer
Publishing year: 2014
Genre: Literary Fiction
Fact: It was nominated for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature (2015) and won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize (2014).

Recommended for everyone who is into reading multiple narratives, well defined characters and books about Karachi.
Title: In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Author: Daniyal Mueenuddin
Publishing year: 2009
Genre: Short Stories. Literary Fiction Historical Fiction.
Fact: Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2010) and National Book Award for Fiction (2009) among other awards. Won the The Story Prize (2009), Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book in South Asia and Europe (2010) among other awards.

Recommended for everyone who is into short stories, historical fiction, and really, really pretentious writing.
Title: Something to Tell You
Author: Hanif Kureishi
Publishing year: 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Fact: A character from Kureishi's famous script My Beautiful Launderette has a guest appearance in this title.

Recommended for everyone who is into pretentious writing / texts about immigrants in UK / overly sexualized characters.
Title: The Sins of the Mother
Author: Jamil Ahmad
Publishing year: 2010
Genre: Short Stories. Historical Fiction.
Fact: This story is part of Jamil Ahmad's compilation of stories titled The Wandering Falcon. This story was published in Granta 112.

Recommended for everyone who like short stories / doesn't mind bittersweet endings / wants to read about Afghanistan.
Title: Our Lady of Alice Bhatti
Author: Mohammed Hanif
Publishing year: 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Fact: It was nominated for the DCS Prize for South Asian Literature (2013) among other awards.

Recommended for everyone who is interested in literature about religious minorities, loves smart writing and is looking for something witty.
Title: A Beheading
Author: Mohsin Hamid
Publishing year: 2010
Genre: Short Stories. Contemporary.
Fact: It was part of the Granta line up in Issue 112 - which focused specifically on Pakistani literature.

Recommended for everyone who loves short stories, doesn't mind blood and gore and has lived to regret speaking the truth.
Title: Exit West
Author: Mohsin Hamid
Publishing year: 2017
Genre: Magic Realism. Literary Fiction. Fantasy.
Fact: Was nominated for the Man Booker Prize (2017), National Book Crtitics Circle Award for Fiction (2017), Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction (2018), Kirkus Prize for Fiction (2017), Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction (2017), and more.

Recommended for everyone who loves magic realism / migration stories / prize nominees. 
Title: Between Clay and Dust
Author: Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Publishing year: 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
Fact: It was nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize (2012) and for the DSC South Asian Literature Longlist (2013).

Recommended for everyone who loves post-partition stories, doesn't mind really short chapters and is interested in wrestlers or courtesans.
Title: The Story of a Widow
Author: Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Publishing year: 2008
Genre: Contemporary.
Fact: It was nominated for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature (2011).

Recommended for everyone who loves complex female characters and doesn't mind taboo topics.
Title: Leila in the Wilderness
Author: Nadeem Aslam
Publishing year: 2010
Genre: Short Stories. Magic Realism.
Fact: It was part of the Granta line up in Issue 112 - which focused specifically on Pakistani literature.

Recommended for everyone who is a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Also for those who haven't actually ever read the Pakistani version of magic realism.
Title: The Prisoner
Author: Omar Shahid Hamid
Publishing year: 2013
Genre: Thriller. Mystery.
Fact: It was nominated for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature for Longlist (2015).

Recommended for everyone who wants to read a very honest account of how policemen learn to deal with a corrupt city.
Title: The Spinner's Tale
Author: Omar Shahid Hamid
Publishing year: 2015
Genre: Thriller. Mystery.
Fact: The author was wounded in the line of duty in 2010, after which he began writing.

Recommended for those who are interested in cricket / really like thrillers and mysteries / want to read a book by a policeman who understands the city of Karachi.
Title: Breath of  Death
Author: Saad Shafqat
Publishing year: 2012
Genre: Mystery.
Fact: This might be the only Pakistani medical mystery out there, as far as I know.

Recommended for everyone who in interested in medical mysteries / has never read a book about Pakistani doctors / wants to engage in discussions about the representation of 9/11 in Pakistani books.
Title: The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family
Author: Usman Tanveer Malik
Publishing year: 2014
Genre: Magic Realism. Science Fiction.
Fact: This is a short story published by Tor.com.

Recommended for everyone who is into Sci-fi, plots which pass over your head and really interesting short story writing.
Title: The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn
Author: Usman Tanveer Malik
Publishing year: 2014
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Fact: This is a short story published in Qualia Nous. It won the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction (2014).

Recommended for everyone who is into speculative fiction, plots which once again pass over your head and really interesting (read: complicated) short story writing.