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5 out of 5

This sweeping novel of 1990s Pakistan, Khan's first to be published in the U.S., begins with a murder. Dia's father is killed, leaving her mother to run the family's profitable silk farm and textile factories. Most unlikely of all, Dia's mother wants Dia to marry not for social status but for love. Dia's story is interwoven with that of her cook's family, who moved from a coastal village to Karachi in search of work and now lives among wealth but without it. And when middle-class but American-educated Daanish returns to Karachi to bury his father, he and Dia become enmeshed in a love affair that cannot thrive in its setting. Sections of the novel are told from points of view within each of the three families, giving readers insights from a variety of political, religious, and class perspectives. Khan tackles political and religious themes as adroitly as she handles the haunting love story, and what emerges is a brilliant, lush portrait of Karachi, a metropolis teeming with corruption, violence, and social tension.


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