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Revolt Paperback – 7 Oct 2013
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'Gripping, hugely involving and very satisfying to read' --Kate Mosse
A real story-telling gift --Sue Gee
'A colourful, engrossing portrayal of a world where love tears families apart' --Gill Paul, author of THE AFFAIR
About the Author
Qaisra Shahraz, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, is a prize-winning and critically acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter. Born in Pakistan, she has lived in Manchester (UK) since childhood and gained two Masters Degrees in English & European literature and scriptwriting for television. Being a highly successful and achieving woman on an international scale, Qaisra was recognised as being one of 100 influential Pakistani women in Pakistan Power 100 List (2012). She is a Director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators partnership. Her novels, The Holy Woman, Typhoon and Revolt are translated into several languages including in Mandarin. The Holy Woman (2001) won the Golden Jubilee Award, was 'Best Book of the Month' at Waterstones and has become a bestseller in Indonesia and Turkey. Her first collection of stories "A Pair of Jeans & Other Stories" includes stories written over 25 years. Qaisra Shahraz has enjoyed another successful career in education as an Ofsted inspector, a quality manager, consultant and teacher trainer, including working under the auspices of the British Council. She is a trustee of Manchester Multi Faith Centre, Vice Chair of Faith Network 4 Manchester and Executive Member of Muslim Jewish Forum. She currently devotes a lot of her time and energies to interfaith activities to promote messages of tolerance, peace and community cohesion in the UK and abroad through her literary tours.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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.
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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Could relate to it in many ways.