17 April, 2021

Karachi Adagio

A charming tale from Pakistan. It has no sex, no violence, and no cultural or political angst

Karachi Adagio
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Just as one despaired of ever reading an old-fashioned novel with a credible story and characters and an uncluttered style, comes this charming tale from Pakistan. It has no sex, no violence, and no cultural or political angst. In short, none of the mandatory prerequisites of contemporary fiction. There is just Mona, a pretty young widow of means, who lives in a genteel Karachi neighbourhood and a bold widower, Salamat Ali, who wants to, and does, marry her. The first half of the book is an amusing account of their courtship and eventual wedding, with ugly cousins as in the Cinderella tale, conspiring aunts, resentful daughters and the dead husband’s portrait in the cast. The second half has darker shades: Mona begins to wonder whether she has been conned by a clever fortune-hunter.

Farooqi, whose translation of the Hamza Nama won praise, now tries his hand at a Jane Austen-like tale with great finesse. With few young people in the cast, Farooqi is able to explore the mannered life of Karachi’s genteel classes at a pace that is...

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