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A world-class tale of love and deceit, rivalry and destiny in a truly masterful and thoroughly involving novel from the Lahore-based writer Uzma Aslam Khan. 'Standing in a room with eight thousand tiny creatures, witnessing them perform a dance that few humans even knew occurred; this was life. Everywhere she looked, each caterpillar nosed the air like a wand and out passed silk!When Dia watched one spin, she came closer to understanding the will of God than at any other time.' Dia is the daughter of a silk farmer, Riffat -- an innovative, decisive businesswoman. Like her mother, Dia seems at first sight unrestricted, spirited and resourceful. She seems free. But freedom has its own borders, patrolled by the covetous and the zealous, and there are those who yearn to jump the fence. Daanish has come back to Karachi for his father's funeral, all the way from America, a land where there are plenty of rules but few restrictions. When Dia and Daanish meet, they chafe against all the formalities. It is left to a handful of silkworms, slipped inside a friend's dupatta, tickling skin, to rupture the fragile peace of both their houses -- to make the space in which Dia and Daanish can create something together!
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Uzma Aslam Khan grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, and has lived in New York and Arizona. She currently lives in Lahore with her husband. Trespassing, her first novel to be published in the U.S., will appear in eleven languages.
Khan limns the conflicts between modern Western and traditional Pakistani mores in an intelligent, ambitious novel (her first to be published in the U.S.) about two star-crossed young lovers in contemporary Karachi. Daanish, a journalism student in "Amreeka," as his aunt calls it, returns home to Karachi for the funeral of his beloved father, a prominent, forward-thinking doctor. He catches the eye of a comely Karachi student, Nini, with whom his traditional mother would like him to make an advantageous marriage. But when Daanish meets Nini's best friend, the thoughtful and challenging Dia Monsour, who helps run her family's silk farm, romance blossoms quickly. Their families' disapproval casts a pall over their meetings, though, and Daanish begins to feel uncertain about seeing Dia as the date for his return to America draws closer. Khan's portrayal of life in Karachi, seen from multiple perspectives, is rich and complex, and her supporting characters, such as Salaamat, a young fisherboy who becomes a driver for a group of freedom fighters whose attacks have a deadly impact on Dia's family, add great depth. Khan's frequent flashbacks can be jarring, and the affair between Dia and Daanish is stretched perilously thin as the primary story line, but Khan's prose, ornate yet precise in its discussions of both love and politics, mark her as a truly gifted observer of moments grand and minute.
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