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on 24 April 2013
the pair of jeans' was a story first written years ago and you might expect it to be about a long gone problem but I found it relevant and descriptive of an ongoing dilemma for young women and their families caught up in the midst of an identity crisis. Do they keep to long held cultural and traditional attitudes to clothes and other aspects of life in general or do they accept the overwhelming reality of the western world around them. Of course the story is not just about the clothes someone wears but the symbolic meaning of the clothes - what do your clothes say about your values and attitudes to other things in life. If you are dressed in western clothes will you also have western attitudes to elders, to marriage, and the underlying implication to having a western approach to sexuality and social mores. In some ways a lot has changed in British Pakistani society but this fundamental dilemma is still there and well depicted in this small snapshot of the lives of the protagonists.
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on 3 April 2013
I first came across Qaisra Shahraz when someone handed me a copy of 'Typhoon', a novel so good that I couldn't put it down.I abandoned all and lost myself in that book, and again with her other novel 'The Holy Woman'. I'm rather partial to good well-written literature, particularly when its an effortless read and has the ability to completely transport me into its world....
As soon as I saw the download available for this collection of short stories I headed over to Amazon and grabbed my copy.
The collection consists of 7 stories in all, and includes 'A Pair OF jeans', Qaisras first ever short story, written whe n she was 18, along with other more recently written stories, namely 'The Zemandars Wife'...Its interesting to see how her style of writing has developed...and how her portrait of Pakistan and Britain have deepened.
Eeven without my academic interest, its well-worth the price, a set of unforgettable stories, little snippets and glimpses of other peoples lives and emotions , as they come to terms with old age, marriage, change..and of course, with everything that being 'multi-cultural' means . The truly incredible gift that Qaisra has is the ability to portray , convey, build a scene and make you feel as if you are there, in so few words... I really enjoyed the collection and will hold the short story, 'The Escape' close to my heart forever...It tells the tale of an old man, who came to Blackburn in the 60's looking back at his life, his family , revisiting Pakistan... incredibly poignant....

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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on 27 August 2014
After reading Qaisra Shahraz's latest novel, Revolt, I wanted to read her other works. This book is an eclectic mix of short stories, under the title of her first short story, A Pair of Jeans, and each examines the common theme of her work - the cultural issues within the East and West divide, and the inevitable modern day crossover between the two worlds.

The eponymous story, A Pair of Jeans, centres on a young Muslim woman torn between leading two lives; the lure of Western values that she faces in a life outside of the traditional value system with which she lives within with her family. Explored via the universal symbol of Western democratic clothing – a pair of jeans – the issues of female sexuality, multiple identities, and cultural clashes are unravelled to reveal universally understood moral and emotional dilemmas lying beneath: loyalty, faith, and integrity.

The rest of the stories in the book all deal with the central theme of the cultural divide, but also examine the inner turmoil beneath the surface of one’s values and beliefs, no matter what faith or background.

The Zemindar’s Wife addresses the feudal lifestyle and class consciousness of traditional rural life in Pakistan as underlying analogy of the West vs East divide. This is a story that uncovers many layers: the beautiful and privileged life of the Zemindar and his wife – an exotic fascination – that possesses a compelling hold over the villagers, despite the gaping chasm of the wealth and power that divides them; the ironic beauty that has allowed the Zemindar’s wife to command respect and authority, but has also alienated her from others; the eventual meeting and melding of two people with opposing ideas who find that love brings them together and answers their long-held, yet unrealised, quests to fulfil their desires as one goal. And, perhaps, this story is the culmination of the cultural and moral dilemmas addressed within this collection of short stories.

A Pair of Jeans provides lessons for us all, no matter what faith or background. It is an invaluable insight into the difficulties of assimilation, adapting, and adjusting of different cultures, not just via the crossover into other worlds, but also within the familiar confines of the world in which we are raised and honour.
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on 27 May 2013
Somehow I think the author did not give this piece of work the time, effort and love it required and it shows! Her first novel was fantastic - ever since her work is on a downward spiral and this is near bottom.
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on 26 August 2014
In this collection of short stories, the author provides small snapshots into the lives of characters that come from all walks of life; from superstitious villagers in Pakistan, to young women living in Britain. Issues highlighted are those that are still relevant to today's society where cultural and western values may clash. In particular 'A Pair of Jeans' brings the topic of multiple identities to our attention the best. These insightful and thought-provoking stories show the skill of the author who is able to convey such ideas in so few words.
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on 10 November 2013
With such an eclectic mix of great stories there must be something for everyone here. My favourite is the Zemindar's Wife - a story on many levels. It is the story of two people with opposing ideas, who find that their love brings them to come together in the realisation that all of their desires are reached in a single goal. All of the stories are well written and beautifully formed and it is no wonder that A Pair of Jeans has been used in German schools for many years in the `Abitur' (A levels). An excellent collection and a worthwhile read.
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on 12 June 2013
I found Qaisra's book of stories, probably based on her own experiences in many cases very moving. Each of the stories were well crafted in their own right, drawing the reader, (me!) in to their web of twists and turns. They showcase the highs and lows of being of Asian origin living in Western society. All in all a thoroughly good read from beginning to end. Once I started I couldn't put it down, even getting so engrossed that I got sunburn sitting in my garden reading it on my Kindle!
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on 14 April 2013
This is the first time I have read any of her books and I was captivated right from the beginning of each story. Very well written.
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on 6 April 2013
Qaisra Shahraz is best known for her highly-praised (and much reprinted) novels The Holy Woman and Typhoon. Here she ventures into the art of the short story and the result is . . . mesmerising. I was totally gripped and am much looking forward to a second collection . . . soon. Congratulations to this new publishing house for making such a pleasurable - and relevant - read available.
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on 23 December 2013
I absolutely love the author,and have read many of her books before,unfortunately this book had most of the short stories from her other novels even the characters were the same so i was unable to read as i already knew the stories,but a couple of them i did read which were new for me.and based on the 2 i read,i did enjoy them very much,otherwise excellent author,love most of her books
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