I didn’t quite know what to expect when the author provided me with a copy of this important first novel. It is a fictionalized account of what it is to be raised in a country steeped in tradition. The author provides a chronological journey that reads almost like a memoir based on true to life experiences.
Khan-Hudson’s main character is the young woman Sabah who pursues a future governed by strict cultural rules and ironically a set of parents who provide her opportunity to develop an independent streak that eventually defies the traditions of arranged marriage.
Her descriptions of Pakistan from Karachi to Lahore and and as an expatriate family living and working in Qatar are packed with imagery. Explanation of the lifestyle that goes along with being raised in a pious Muslim household provide readers with insights into a culture that most Americans would benefit from. The story contains detailed translations of language as well as interpretation of Muslim religious practice as described from the main character’s point of view.
Shortly after graduating from medical school, Sabah has a traumatic experience while living in Karachi with her grandparents. The author’s presentation of the violence is full of suspense. Sabah survives the violence but unfortunately her grandparents do not. As a result, Sabah decides to act on her independence and follows her heart to the second half of the story which unfolds as a romance with a successful American entrepreneur.