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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book had me gripped from the first page.
It is a multi-faceted, multi-layed story of love and loss, finding and loosing. Centreing on the forthcoming wedding of two rich cousins the action moves from Pakistan to England and back again. However the families in their grand houses have problems no amount of money can solve. A daughter lost by an impulsive marriage, an aunt who pines for a lost love and a bridegroom...
Published 5 months ago by Margaret Moris

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Melodrama
This saga set in Pakistan has little to commend it. It is full of petty, narrow minded characters who like to gossip & enjoy others misfortune. Family honour is more important than love or happiness & families are split apart by one person marrying below them. It also seems acceptable to call the white character whore & slut. I think this book does nothing to improve the...
Published 14 days ago by DocE


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book had me gripped from the first page., 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Revolt (Kindle Edition)
It is a multi-faceted, multi-layed story of love and loss, finding and loosing. Centreing on the forthcoming wedding of two rich cousins the action moves from Pakistan to England and back again. However the families in their grand houses have problems no amount of money can solve. A daughter lost by an impulsive marriage, an aunt who pines for a lost love and a bridegroom who has the biggest problem of them all. Underpinning the action is always the need to resolve the tension caused by conflict between traditional Pakistani Muslim values and modern Western ones

The families in the big houses are supported by a fascinating cast of villagers: Begum, the housekeeper, Zeinab, the quilt maker, Rukhsar, the goldsmith‘s wife and especially Masi Fiza, the laundry woman and purveyor of juicy gossip ,who always manages to be where the action is. Qaisra’s cast of characters keeps us enthalled as the action unfolds and the tensions between them all play out and are finally resolved.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece!, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Revolt (Kindle Edition)
I first read the perennial favourite The Holy Woman almost a decade ago, so turned to Revolt with some trepidation. Could the author live up to a decade of built up expectation and match her first novel? Luckily for me (and anyone else reading her work), Revolt delivers.
What the author does so well is to create characters that are emotionally rich and believable. This is especially pertinent when you finish the novel, there is a burning desire to know what happened next to the characters.
Revolt itself is a multi-layered story about human relationships, set in Pakistan, but with universal themes of love, betrayal, sacrifice. The author keeps the polemics of that country at bay, mentioned when needed, but done in a way I imagine most people think about these issues. But most of all the story is a page turner, and kept me gripped throughout.
Revolt also incorporates the ongoing struggle between Pakistan and NRPs (non-resident Pakistanis), and really shows how lives whether in England, America or Pakistan, are sometimes only separated by a whisper.
I won't give away any spoilers, just to say the focus on the lives of the three sisters, Gulbahar, Mehreen and Rani, is very refreshing. Why shouldn't women of a certain age take centre stage, and why shouldn't they be allowed to inhabit realms of feeling? The power play is also very subtly done, and none of them is ever meek or ignored, contrary to popular opinion of Muslim women.
The flip side is also evident though, and a daughter's choices are less acceptable than a son's, but again done subtly.
The real story that moved me though was that of Rani. Stick with this character because you will be rewarded for doing so by the author, who is bold and courageous in how she deals with Rani's story.
A definite must for fans of The Holy Woman, A Suitable Boy, Burnt Shadows etc. and in some ways it has a ring of a Pakistani Downton Abbey to it, where both the rich and poor are given their moments to shine, filling the pages with a complex world. Revolt is definitely a novel I'm itching to read again and is highly recommended!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant evocation of village life in Pakistan, 17 Nov 2013
This review is from: Revolt (Paperback)
Quaisra Shiraz has created some memorable characters in her most recent novel, "Revolt". Her pen presents such a vivid picture of village life that you feel as if you are living there and engaging with the characters, who come from many and varied stations in life. Shiraz is particularly strong in defining how individual decisions can affect wider cultural attitudes, and the message of cross-cultural tolerance is very welcome in this age of globalisation. But most importantly, the book is full of page-turning excitement deftly plotted, and you are likely to miss the depiction of a world unfamiliar to many readers, drawn with particular sympathy for the lives of the village women, when this engaging book comes to an end.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A multi-layered journey to human universiality, 21 Nov 2013
This review is from: Revolt (Paperback)
'On the surface Revolt is an involved, intricate story that had me laughing one minute, tearing up the next. I wasn't expecting to feel as attached to the characters as I inevitably did as their lives and situations unfolded - it's impossible not to sympathise on some level with each and every character. However, underneath the reflex reactions and emotions, this book really taught me something and opened my mind to new perspectives of struggles regarding sexism, racism, and classism.' A few lines from my review - read it in full at [...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Melodrama, 6 April 2014
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This review is from: Revolt (Kindle Edition)
This saga set in Pakistan has little to commend it. It is full of petty, narrow minded characters who like to gossip & enjoy others misfortune. Family honour is more important than love or happiness & families are split apart by one person marrying below them. It also seems acceptable to call the white character whore & slut. I think this book does nothing to improve the outsiders views of Pakistan or the Muslim community, unfortunately. Avoid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and beautiful, 14 Feb 2014
This review is from: Revolt (Paperback)
Wow, where do I start with this lovely, long novel? Complicated and large in scope, Qaisra Shahraz’s Revolt had me hooked and drawn into the plight of a large family in the rural village of Gulistan in Pakistan. Centred around three sisters, Rani, Mehreen and Gulbahar, and their children and servants, Revolt chronicles the twists and turns of marriages and secret loves, and the ripple effect the choices of the children have on their mothers and fathers and the rest of the village.

I’m not going to lie, Revolt is greatly complicated and there’s a large list of characters. At the start, I had a hard time keeping track of who was who but once I finally got into the swing of it, keeping tabs on relationships between different characters became easier. There were also some tough themes to deal with in this book, like women’s rights, family values and tradition, and as a Western woman I found some of these issues to be frustrating, particularly the issue of arranged marriages.

Shahraz’s writing is very rich and warm, sprinkling words and phrases in the native tongue throughout the book. Don’t let the foreign language put you off; there is a glossary in the back of the book to help with translations!

This was one of those books that I read slowly, pausing in my reading to put the book down and actually reflect on what I’d read. I think I might have even had a dream or two about the characters -it’s that realistic and affecting. I really didn’t want the book to end. I didn’t want to close the cover on Gulbahar, Mehreen and Rani. This book was just rich – in setting, in characters, in everything. There’s no other word to describe this book.

If you’re looking for a total cultural immersion, Revolt is definitely the perfect book for that. I also have Shahraz’s The Holy Woman on my shelf to read and I’m greatly looking forward to it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Pakistani Aga saga, 13 April 2014
By 
Marand (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Revolt (Paperback)
Like another reviewer I was very disappointed by this book. Having seen the author's profile and connection with the British Council, and read the reviews, I was expecting something much more meaty. This novel though, is nothing more than a Pakistani Aga saga with the occasional detour to Mills & Boon & EastEnders territory.

It is an easy read if you can get past the dreadful dialogue and the pretty poor quality of the writing. The author clearly loves her adjectives and adverbs - they are over-used to an enormous degree. I wouldn't mind so much if they had contributed to a poetic style of writing, but the prose style is often inelegant, even ugly. I felt there was also too much telling and not enough showing in the course of the narrative which in part I think contributed to the stilted dialogue. I became increasingly irritated by the number of times people "panted" or "bitterly retorted", and if I hear the phrase "portable bed" anytime soon I think I will scream. Mouths fell open on a regular basis too. At times I really struggled with the urge to throw the book at the wall - not a good move with a kindle.

The author appears incapable of punctuating dialogue correctly although I would have expected an editor to pick up on this. Far too frequently I found myself re-reading sections because the absence or incorrect use of punctuation meant it wasn't clear who was saying what or whether the words following direct speech were tags or independent sentences. Another irritant was the over-use of the exclamation mark. Both these factors distracted me from the story.

The disappointing thing was that although there was the potential to explore, in a meaningful way, areas such as arranged marriages v marriages for love, caste & class relationships, emigration and the sense of displacement, this opportunity was lost in a haze of melodrama. What we have left at the end is simply a family saga, and not a very convincing one either. I was unconvinced by most of the characters and didn't believe aspects of the storyline. For instance, the relationships between servants and their employers just didn't ring true. Nor did the degree of familiarity between the sexes seem to fit with a rural village in Pakistan, where women wear the chador: there is little feel of a society where women are often segregated.

I have dithered between awarding this two stars or three but I feel that three stars is a little on the generous side - probably 2.5 stars. I cannot envisage reading any of the author's other books or looking out for new ones.
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4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent read, 8 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Revolt (Kindle Edition)
A well written story of love and the need to appreciate differences between cultures. There are many characters to become acquainted with and each enhances the overall theme of acceptance. There is a lot to admire in the style of story telling and I look forward to reading more works written by this author.
Kate Yorkshire
March 14
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Revolt (Kindle Edition)
I bought this after reading reviews that led me to think the book addressed issues about life in a Muslim community by taking a look at the ordinary people within it. What I found instead was a 'soap opera' and a not very good one at that. I was often confused by time-line, being unsure quite when things were meant to have happened. The characters were a bit one-dimesional in some instances, and the way everything ended 'happily' was pretty unbelievable. Although racial, cultural and political issues were mentioned in passing none of them were really addressed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolt by Qaisra Shahraz, 14 Feb 2014
This review is from: Revolt (Paperback)
Revolt
This is a superb book, with many layers telling stories of love and loss. It's the story of three sisters and despite the wealth in the family, the problems they encounter can't be solved by money. It's set in England and a fictional village in Pakistan and the characters are great, funny at times, maddening and totally unforgettable. As the wedding of two cousins approach, it illustrates how moving and perilous it can be when everyone knows everybody else's business. What I especially enjoyed was the contrast between life in Pakistan and life in Emgland, the cultural differences as well as the fundamentals we all have in common.
It's a book that made me giggle, laugh, cry and sob! It's also one that's been passed around friends and family with everyone loving it. The author is an award winning novelist (The Holy Woman, Typhoon and Revolt) and I'm glad to hear she is writing more books. This is a modern day classic and one you won't want to put down.
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