When newlywed Abdulla loses his wife and unborn child in a car accident,
the world seems to crumble beneath his feet. Thrust back into living in
the family compound, he goes through the motions--work, eat, sleep,
repeat. Blaming himself for their deaths, he decides to never marry
again but knows that culturally, this is not an option. Three years
later, he's faced with an arranged marriage to his cousin Hind, whom he
hasn't seen in years. Hard-pressed to find a way out, he consents to a
yearlong engagement and tries to find a way to end it. What he doesn't
count on, and is unaware of, is Hind's own reluctance to marry.
for independence, she insists on being allowed to complete a master's
degree in England, a condition Abdulla readily accepts. When she finds
an unlikely friend in Indian-American Sangita, she starts down a path
that will ultimately place her future in jeopardy.
The greatest success
of Rajakumar's novel is the emotional journey the reader takes via her
rich characters. One cannot help but feel the pressure of the culturally
mandated marriage set before Hind and Abdulla. He's not a real Muslim
man if he remains single, and she will never be allowed freedoms without
the bondage of a potentially loveless marriage. It's an impossible
situation dictated by a culture that they still deeply respect.
Rajakumar pulls back the veil on life in Qatar to reveal a glimpse of Muslim life rarely seen by Westerners.