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Season of the Rainbirds Hardcover – December, 1993

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A corrupt and powerful judge in a small Pakistani village is killed and, in a seemingly unrelated event, a sack of letters thought to have disappeared 19 years earlier in a train wreck is belatedly headed toward the same village. The letters and the judge's death bring about a series of tragic events that Aslam, a skillful and highly confident first-novelist, uses to explore the tensions between a traditional Islamic way of life and the secular world. In the following 11 days, as the murder investigation progresses--and as it becomes clear that many powerful people would like the letters simply to vanish--darker, personal tales of passion and betrayal unfold. Aslam segues between various characters: the judge's family; a fundamentalist cleric worried by the transgressions of the local inhabitants and their desire for modern luxuries; the deputy commissioner, who is brazenly involved with a Christian woman; a ruthless, cynical landholder; a crusading journalist reporting on the delivery of the mail packet; and others. When national politics intrude--the president, closely modeled on General Zia, is almost assassinated--the journalist disappears and the whole story comes to a head. Aslam, who was born in Pakistan and now lives in England, lovingly explores the daily rhythms and beauties of the Islamic life of his youth, while providing insight into the turbulent modern history of his native land.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

**'A model of compact, unadorned storytelling OBSERVER **'Vivid and poignant EVENING STANDARD **'An exquisitely turned portrait of small-town life on the sub-continent: it is a real treat DAILY TELEGRAPH **'Poised and troubling THE TIMES --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Andre Deutsch Ltd (December 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0233988122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0233988122
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,685,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Winner of a Betty Trask Award for best first novel a decade ago, this remains Aslam's only book. Set in a small town in contemporary Pakistan, the novel contains a number of dramatic hooks-most notably the murder of the town judge, and the reappearance of a bag of mail missing for almost twenty years. Despite expectations, these actually don't really pay off in any huge revelations, but rather serve as catalysts for Aslam's examination of a town filled with undercurrents of political, religious, and ethnic tension. The novel flows into and out of various homes, from the town's feudalistic ruling family, that of a the town's main Muslim clergyman, to a widowed woman's, that of a Christian family, and of the district commissioner, as well as the barbershop and post office. What slowly emerges is the portrait of a community largely isolated from the outside world, under the heel of the military dictatorship and the local ruling elite, and culturally caught between tradition and modernity. It doesn't whack the reader over the head with any particular message, but rather offers a glimpse into rural Pakistani life.
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