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Brick Walls Perfect Paperback – June 3, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A quick read, full of heart, sensitive without shying away from the harsh daily truths." The Austin Chronicle.

"Faruqi's stories beautifully capture the similarities (of the human condition); her ambitious, flawed, raw characters are easy to relate to for any reader, regardless of ethnicity." Brown Girl Magazine book review.

"Faruqi is able to take on the voices of each of her diverse cast of characters, voicing ten year old Nida as convincingly as that of the elderly, crotchety but warm hearted Farzana." Muslimah Media Watch book review.

"Faruqi's evocative collection is like a breath of fresh air as it breaks through all the clutter of violence, terrorism and fear, and offers much hope and faith in humanity despite the odds." Kitaab book review.

"In Brick Walls Faruqi brings us seven short stories with heartbreaking verisimilitude of life in modern Pakistan. It is both a love letter to her home country and a stark, critical look at its current challenges." Katherine Russell Thought Log book review.

"Brick Walls offers a tantalizing glimpse into a Pakistan rarely seen in the West: one in which hope and heartbreak, love and longing, luck and disaster are woven into the lives of every character you meet." Ayesha Mattu, editor of Love InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women and Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, & Intimacy.

"Saadia Faruqi is a promising writer whose heart-warming tales about Pakistan contain the ability to entertain, surprise, and move. Her honest portrayals of Pakistani life in all its hues are thoroughly enjoyable." Bina Shah, author of A Season for Martyrs.

"Faruqi's short stories sparkle with warmth and hope for humanity. Brick Walls is a lovely collection by a promising new writer". Soniah Kamal, award winning author of An Isolated Incident.

"Faruqi's stories offer her readers an opportunity to look beyond the screaming headlines about Pakistan that focus on political turmoil and concerns over terrorism. Her focus is on the lives of ordinary Pakistanis impacted by those headlines, reflecting the search for survival and dignity common to most people around the world." Farah Ghuznavi, author of Fragments of Riversong.

About the Author

Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer with expertise in cultural diversity, interfaith dialogue and Muslim American issues. She writes regularly for a number of nonfiction publications including State of Formation, The Islamic Monthly and Tikkun Daily. She is also the editor of the Interfaith Houston blog and Blue Minaret literary magazine. As president of Faruqi & Associates, a writing and editing firm, she works with nonprofit and corporate clients around the world. Brick Walls is her first fictional short story collection. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two small children.
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: FB Publishing; First edition (June 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990387666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0990387664
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #555,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Glaes on June 26, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The stories in this book filled me with so many emotions, but I mainly came away with optimism and hope. The characters and their situations, in many ways, are universal. That they are Pakistanis dealing with a world turned upside-down by religious extremism, political corruption, war, poverty or violence makes me think twice about my preconceptions. Most of the stories were gut-wrenching or heartbreaking from my Western perspective, but they all expanded my Weltanschauung in some way. Each story is completely different, but each illustrates a facet of Pakistani life and the good and bad of the people who live there. Each story ends in hope, whether for a better life, a better understanding, a new start--the characters find a new path. The writing is wonderful and evocative of life in that part of the world. I know I will be re-reading these stories over time, even though they are unforgettable.
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In this collection of short stories, Saadia Faruqi gives the reader a window into the lives of people living in Pakistan, a country which Americans mostly know only through media coverage of our war on terror. Through stories of characters as disparate as a would-be suicide bomber, a university student, a musician and a widow whose children have emigrated to the U.S., Faruqi shows us how similar these people are to ourselves. She reminds us of our shared humanity--an especially important task when those in power seek to polarize us.
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I like that Saadia takes risks. She offers an eye-opening perspective of a young man recruited to become a suicide bomber; a vivacious girl determined to play the male-dominated sport of cricket; and a revolutionary musician who performs to spite the Taliban. Every viewpoint this book puts forth is fresh, different, and worth knowing.

Saadia's most compelling writing technique is her knack for tension. She has this way of slipping in little hints - a detail that you might overlook or think nothing of - then wrapping everything back full circle. There were times I gasped, "No!" as I realized the foreshadowing from three pages ago had come back, and something terrible was about to happen. She pulls you in consciously and meticulously - with every detail, she gets you to love or sympathize with her characters and feel invested in their futures, fragile as they are.

If I have one wish for this book, it's that I want it to show more than explain, especially when it comes to the deep emotions each protagonist experiences. Saadia sets up each story with so much excellent tension, and I want to see the characters react instead of being told how they feel - then again, I'm an analytical reader and prefer to read between the lines, which isn't the case for everyone. Style preferences aside, there is much depth here to dissect.

As an American reader, I was grateful for the opportunity to explore these perspectives and learn more about a place that US news typically doesn't empathize with. Yet it's critical to acknowledge how many of our problems, hopes, dreams, loves, and passions parallel each other. That is the importance of world literature and this book: to let us hear these voices and feel their existence, no matter what physical distance separates us. Beyond the political critiques, Saadia hits on something even more important and memorable, at least for me: the shared beauty and common kindness of humanity.
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"Brick Walls" is a beautifully written collection of seven short stories about people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds in Pakistan. The characters in the stories come alive and the reader can enter into their perceptions of the world they inhabit. While the situations they find themselves in are common in Pakistan, they are not in most of the Western countries; the way the characters behave, however, clearly brings out Ms. Faruqi's message that we are all essentially the same. Each of the stories takes on a separate current issue; through the characters the reader can begin to see facets of the problems that the media does not convey. It is an important book to read for anyone who is seeking to understand the way the people of Pakistan feel about what is happening in their country. While the stories are fictional, the emotional context of living in the various situations, is quite real. The stories cover topics as diverse as the recruitment of terrorists, musicians under the Taliban, the falsely imprisoned, girls playing sports, and the socio-economic divides in urban areas among others. I read the book in December and felt it was important enough for my students to have Ms. Faruqi's insights that I immediately added it to the required reading for one of my Humanities classes.
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Saadia has beautifully recreated a collection of memories that will undoubtedly evoke serious homesickness in the hearts of many Pakistani Americans. Her narrative is not only original, it is elaborate, descriptive and eloquent. The many characters leap off the pages mesmerizing the reader and holding the imagination captive till the very end.
Faruqi gained my respect primarily due to her unique style of leading a sedentary theme into a story of unbridled hope and revival. It is incredibly difficult to find a source of hope in so many hopeless lives, especially in a country such as Pakistan. Yet, she finds a ray of sunshine that illuminates the lives of the lead characters and makes their sacrifices worth the effort.
A thoroughly enjoyable read, full of surprises and an unparalleled, truthful rendition of her own homeland.
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