Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger

Product ID: 28617

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Author: Sohaila Abdulali
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 294
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143067856


New York in the 1990s is rich, unmolested, full of hubris and joy. Zara Hussain—young, successful Wall Street trader—lives in the East Village with her twin Kabir, a free spirit and musician, and their older sister Salma, a scientist who is looking for an acceptable husband.

Their best friend Sam helps them chase their extraordinary dreams when he’s not indulging his own passion for tigers.

The story begins with a crisis in Immigration at JFK Airport, which results in Zara vowing to stay in the US and Kabir deciding to return to India.

As the year draws to a close, the siblings’ lives have turned upside down. Zara is involved in a snowballing financial scandal on Wall Street; Kabir is faced with the unfamiliar joys of responsibility; and Salma has found a possible and dangerous love.

Along the way we meet a motley bunch— Benny, a mentally ill man desperately searching for beauty; Mildred, one of Kabir’s many lovers; Rick, the Hussains’ neighbour who wants to sail the seven seas; and the moon as it makes sudden appearances.

In elegant prose and vivid imagery, Sohaila Abdulali brings to life the rich, vibrant landscape of New York before 9/11.


First off, it’s very refreshing to read a book that’s been set in New York when 9/11 was really just a date. And especially in Abdulali’s lively, unpretentious, humorous prose, the city comes alive with the Hussain family – twins Zara and Kabir, and their older sister, Salma. The core of the story revolves around identity, both public and private. As Zara struggles with a career in the booming financial sector, Kabir has a conflict of a more personal nature to come to terms with. All this, while Salma searches for the perfect groom. Year of the Tiger is a heart-warming read, not least because of the real-ness of both the characters and the story. Abdulali reminds us of the world when it was a gentler place, and stories could be told within a more personal, yet universal, realm.