THE WORLD UNSEEN (READ BY LISA RAY)
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I expected this story of a forbidden love in Apartheid South Africa to be more doom and gloom than light and enticing but whilst there are harsh elements, the overall impression is uplifting. Ms Sarif again manages to deftly draw the characters of normal Indian families who just happen to live in an oppressive regime. There is humour and joy in their relationships with those around them as well as the threat of betrayal and danger. The Indians are viewed as lesser than whites but not as low as the blacks and their relationship with the white police is carefully managed. The story is mostly light and pacey but every time the police come on the scene you can feel a darkness and sense of danger fall. The scenes where the police are searching for Omar’s sister Rehmat (who has come for a visit and is betrayed by her own sister-in law) are extremely tense. Rehmat has committed the ‘crime’ of marrying a white man and now lives in Paris, but she is not safe from Apartheid rules in South Africa…
The growing relationship between Amina and Miriam is also tender and sweet. If you’re looking for a lot of hot explicit sex then you won’t find it here but if you want a beautifully developed love story which has some hope for the future, then you will find that. A masterpiece.
Shamim Sharif writes beautifully about hard topics - discrimination, hatred, violence, adultery etc. Amongst all this bad is the story of a love between two women, and it isn't so much the being in love that captivates but the journey of that discovery. It's so touching and sweet that it crosses the boundaries of 'normality' and you find yourself wanting and hoping that they find a way to be together.
The characters are very well developed and you feel you know even the ones who exist on the edges of the book.
A gem of a find and a must read book.