In this vibrant and moving collection of short stories by award winning author Quaisra Shahraz, she demonstrates yet again her abilities for storyline and plot which are always gripping.The Elopement, The Discovery and A Pair of Jeans focus on the issues facing young Pakistani Muslim women as they work out how to live in a world where traditional and Western values clash. Can they create a synthesis?Miriam in A Pair of Jeans discovers that a seeming innocuous item of clothing can cause disaster while Rubiya in The Elopement and The Discovery pays the price of rejection for her past misdeed. In The Zemindar's Wife and Perchanvah the reader opens a window into a world of feudal lifestyle and class consciousness that is embedded in the psyche of many of the country's inhabitants.Other stories - Escape and The City Dwellers explore the feelings of those struggling to discover the meaning of "home". The Malay Host is a contrast with an element of the mysterious. What is behind the one locked door in the old Malay house that is a tourist attraction and why is the woman of the house brandishing a piece of burning wood at the Western visitors? Long held cultural and traditional attitudes to clothes and other aspects of life in general is a dilemma for young women and their families caught up in the midst of an identity crisis. In some ways a lot has changed in British Pakistani society but this fundamental dilemma is still there and well depicted in the lives of the protagonists in these stories.
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||237 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.