Author: Mariam Karim Ahlawat
ISBN/UPC (if available): 014302941X
Often we lead a life that is not our own. People tell us, then we tell ourselves, that this is the only reality. But somewhere inside us we know that it lies elsewhere…in another dimension.
Nascent does not belong in Rahimganj, a small town by the river Gomti in UP. And she no longer knows where she does. She has no culture, no language that she can claim as her own. Her mother, Saira Alvi, a famous poet and feminist, when she gave Nasreen in marriage to the town's most prominent family, had hoped to spare her daughter the hardships of a rebel life; but the shift only deprived Nasreen of the few certainties she had. For years now she has lived in the past-in the Paris and London of her childhood, and memories of her dead mother and her long-lost friend Zamurrad. She fills her journal with fragments of her puzzled part-life, and often wanders down to the river, sometimes forgetting to return. People know her as the odd, perhaps insane wife of Javed, proprietor and editor of the local newspaper Tabsira, himself fighting a losing battle for love in his home and for reason in post-Pokharan, Post-Babri Masjid India.
But Nasreen's life will soon intersect with that of the town she has never completely understood: when an attempted murder in the local church brings Rahimganj to the brink of communal conflict, the private and the public collide, and tragedy unfolds.
In graceful, vivid prose, Mariam Karim writes about the loneliness of those without a place they can truly call home, and eloquently examines complex issues of identity: the place of an individual life in society, the relevance of history and faith, the power of memory and love.