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The wish maker
Ali Sethi
Adult Fiction SETHI

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The turbulence of contemporary Pakistani politics is refracted through the intimate prism of a fractious extended family in this mature debut, written when the author was 23. Twenty-year-old Zaki Shirazi, his military father dead before he was born, is raised with his rebellious female cousin Samar Api in a Lahore household dominated by his liberal mother, Zakia, editor of a crusading women's magazine, and his strong-willed, culturally conservative grandmother, Daadi. The nimble two-track narrative shifts between post-9/11, when Zaki returns from college in Massachusetts for Samar's wedding, and his childhood in the early 1990s, around the time then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was deposed, an act that polarized the country. The political background frames Sethi's complex narrative, but the primary focus is on the family's relatively privileged-and often as argumentative as it is loving-household, providing Western readers with an insider's atmospheric take on a culture and a country much in the news these days. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Change vs. stasis is one of several themes in this debut by political essayist Sethi. Zaki Shirazi comes home to Pakistan from his New England college to attend cousin Samar Api's wedding, observing the superficial, Western-influenced changes in Lahore yet realizing that, underneath the surface, life is much the same. Born months after his father's death in the Pakistani air force, Zaki is raised by and among strong women: his mother, Zakia, editor of a feminist journal; Daadi, his conservative paternal grandmother; Naseem, the nurturing servant of unquestioned loyalty; and Samar, a confusing blend of cousin, sister, and friend. Through the prism of Pakistan's tumultuous struggle toward democracy, Sethi examines three generations of lives informed by an inconstant cultural climate. The author deftly employs the eyes of a journalist to exquisitely detail daily life in Lahore but could have been encouraged to edit extraneous material that often prevents the narrative from flowing. Still, the popularity of recent novels out of Pakistan, including The Reluctant Fundamentalist and A Case of Exploding Mangoes, will warrant interest. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/09.]-Sally Bissell, Lee Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Zaki Shirazi
Male
Age: 20
Fatherless
His military father died before he was born; raised with his rebellious female cousin in a household dominated by his liberal mother who was an editor of a crusading women's magazine, and his strong-willed, conservative grandmother; returned from college in Massachusetts to attend his cousin's wedding.
College student

Samar Api
Female
Engaged
Zaki's cousin; rebellious; raised with Zaki in a household dominated by her liberal aunt who was an editor of a crusading women's magazine, and her strong-willed, conservative grandmother; she and Zaki drifted apart as they grew older; planning her wedding.



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