Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book review: Revolt - Qaisra Shahraz


A multi-layered, multi-faceted story of love and loss, finding and losing, and mixed-race marriage, Revolt is the tale of three wealthy sisters and the problems that no amount of money can solve. There is a daughter, abandoned because of an impulsive marriage, an aunt who pines for lost love, and a bridegroom with the biggest problem of them all.

Set in England and the fictional village of Gulistan in Pakistan, with its fascinating array of quirky, eccentric and unforgettable characters, Revolt centres on the forthcoming marriage of two rich cousins and the often hilarious but always deeply moving pitfalls and perils of living in a place where everyone knows everybody's business. Underpinning the action is the compulsive and pervading need to resolve the conflict between Pakistani Muslim values and those of the modern West.

A brilliantly incisive portrait of small-town life, exploding into a panoramic portrayal of the nature of change, freedom, pride and prejudice, Revolt also reminds us of a darker, more threatening world. Immensely readable, dramatic and beautifully evocative, this book will enthral, as the action unfolds and the tensions play out to their startling resolution.

My opinion.
Wow. What a novel. 
It took me a while to get into the story. I found the amount of Urdu words used in the book very confusing at first. A lot of characters were introduced in the first few chapters, with (for me) difficult names, all of which made it a bit harder to really get absorbed into the story and the character's lives. But once you got used to some of the Urdu words and the characters, it became such an amazingly intriguing read. 
One of the great things about Revolt is the very large amount of characters, and their diversity. One big story with all those individual stories intertwined... Such a "rich" book. Not only are the characters very different from one another, they each got a different story to tell and the book introduces so many different themes... You never get bored!

Personally, I haven't been in contact much with Muslim or Pakistani culture, so Revolt really showed an unknown world and I feel it taught me a lot about their values and customs. Although very enriching, it was frustrating at times as well. I had a hard time with the dutiful wife -roll. How much those woman sacrificed for the sake of their marriage... And the amount of (verbal!) abuse they have to endure!

Qaisra Shahraz is obviously a very talented story teller and she transported me to another, unknown, part of the world.

Revolt is an amazingly intriguing and rich story. It brings so much diversity in both characters and themes. Qaisra Shahraz introduces you to a new world and transports you to a little Pakistani village, while making you forget the world around you.


Thank you so much to Karen at Arcadia Books
for giving me the chance to read and review Revolt.
I really enjoyed this memorable book!

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