5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not quite satisfying,
This review is from: The Shadow Of The Crescent Moon (Paperback)
In the fictionalized version of the city of Mir Ali in Pakistan, which lies close to the border with Afghanistan, three brothers are having breakfast on what is one of the most important festival days in the Muslim calendar, Eid.
One of the brothers Aman Erum, recently returned from studying in America. Sikandar has recently lost his son in an attack on the hospital where he works. His wife Mina who was a lecturer in the department of psychology at the same hospital, has disengaged herself from her previous life and now attends the funerals of strangers in an attempt to `find' her son.
The youngest brother, Hayat, is fighting a long running war to have Mir Ali separated from Pakistani and become part of Afghanistan.
After the brothers have finished breakfast they will part ways and make decisions that may affect each other lives forever.
The novel is set during one morning during the hours of 9am and noon. However, the novel moves from that morning to the past as we find out what lead the three brothers and their families to this point of time and the decisions they feel they have to make.
Though the triumvirate of brothers are initially to be read as the main characters of the novel it becomes apparent as the novel enters its middle section that in fact the two main protagonists are two women; Mina the wife of Sikandar and Samarra who fights alongside Hayat and has a relationship with him and his brother Aman Erum. Mina's pain and anguish at the death of her son, Zalan is so well crafted, so palpable that the reader feels compelled to look away from the page sensing the character Mina, will turn on us the reader for intruding in her suffering.
Samarra is the epitome of the new Pakistan woman. Samarra is no longer willing to be a slave to men or a background player in her country's future. Her childhood has been played out against 9/11, Pakistan's war against insurgency, Pakistan's willingness to open its airspace to the USA and towns like Mir Ali being bombed by drones. All these and other events in her life have inextricably bound her to this fateful morning. The author has created Samarra using words as the veins and arteries and the pages as bone and her story as Samarra's skin. Samarra has been lovingly drawn and born of the author's emotions.
However, the same cannot be said of two of the three brothers; Hayat and Sikandar. While Aman Eram is a fully rounded character I felt by the end of the book that Hayat and Sakinder were as unknown to me as they were on page one. The two brother's identities become smothered by their strong well written female counterparts. Hayat's need to become a fighter with the Mir Ali underground is never fully explained and what is related is far from satisfactory.
At times the book read like a polemical diatribe with the author, niece of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, riding her high horse for all its worth. Samarra and Hayat are looked upon as heroic with the author leaving us in no doubt in that what they are doing is right. But the question should have been asked if Samarra and Hayat are terrorists or freedom fighters. We all know the cliché `one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter', ( Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Michael Collins to name but a few), but this concept is never explored and had it been then it would have helped make this novel a more satisfactory read.
Number of Pages - 231
Sex Scenes - None
Profanity - None
Genre - Fiction.