Kismet includes the interwoven stories of Pakistani immigrant, Azra Majid, her family, and her co-workers. Azra is an orphan who is sent to live in London during her early teens. In a realistic manner, the book deals with the culture shock and bigotry faced by the main character. East meets West as the two societies collide, and the second generation has to decide where they fit in.
The novel follows Azra through the mid-life years in the Southall area of London. Along the way, the reader is also introduced to the people who touch her life--for better or for worse. Their lives entwine in what the author calls kismet (fate, or destiny); hence, the title.
Above all, this novel is a study in human nature. This is the go-to book for readers interested in three-dimensional characters and believable plotlines. I guarantee that you will cheer, gasp, and be kept in suspense until the last page.
Who will have happy endings? Will every challenge be resolved? You have to read up to the last page to find out!
TraciLawrence Editor and Author of Accept no Trash Talk - Overcoming the Odds
Anyone who is interested in the many challenges faced by those who leave their homeland to live in another country will love Shaheen Darr's lovely novel entitled Kismet: A Desi Rhapsody in London. The current day story takes place in Southall (a London suburb), and the main characters are from Pakistan; the families moved to England several decades earlier. The middle-aged Pakistani parents are struggling with their own lives, as well as focused on their college-aged offspring marrying well. Caught between the traditional Asian-arranged marriages and the western ideal of marrying for love, the parents try to bridge these opposing concepts to ensure happiness for themselves and their children. Underneath the façade of happily arranged marriages, the novel reveals much pain and heartache for the older generations. The juxtaposition of traditional views, along with the daily experience of cellphone texting and traffic snarls, is realistic and thought-provoking.
Shaheen Darr is clearly a talented writer, demonstrated by Kismet: A Desi Rhapsody in London. From Azra, to Mina, to Hasan, there are many intriguing characters. Each person is introduced with just the right amount of descriptive information for the reader to want to know more. As the story unfolds, an additional dose of history and life experience builds the character, and the reader understands the motivations behind the character's words and actions. Ms. Darr develops several plots among characters who are related by family connections, work, or friendship. Just like life itself, there were many joys and sadnesses, and a few tragic events. This book is truly a page-turner! A sequel would be wonderful.
Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite