A Small Fortune

A Small Fortune

by Rosie Dastgir

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594631511
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Rosie Dastgir was born in England to a Pakistani father and an English mother. She was educated at Oxford University and received an MFA in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in London.

What People are Saying About This

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

Beautiful, intelligent and poignant. With honesty and insight, Rosie Dastgir reveals the triumphs and tragedies—not only when East meets West—but when any of us attempt to forge our own identity beneath the weight of history, culture and that most terrifying obstacle of all—family. (Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free)

Gautaum Malkani

Touchingly elegant with a sense of humor. Dastgir reminds us why stories about the many different kinds of British Asian experience continue to make for compelling reading. With characters so real that they defy stereotypes, she cleverly and movingly demonstrates how haplessness and fallibility can bolster one's humanity. (Gautaum Malkani, author of Londonstani)

From the Publisher

“In her debut novel, Rosie Dastgir weaves a vivid and delightful saga about an extended family of Pakistani immigrants. . . . [A Small Fortune] is funny, poignant, true and sad, and I was enthralled.”—The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"But the beauty in Dastgir's novel, and the reason you won't be able to put it down, is her ability to get to the heart of the immigrant struggle."—Bust

"A tweedy Pakistani divorcé and his alarmingly self-possessed daughter are tested by an unexpected windfall."—Vogue

"This charming debut offers rich insights into the complexities of immigrant life in England. . . . This charming debut offers rich insights into the complexities of immigrant life in England."—Library Journal

"Among the strengths of [her] writing are the naturalistic flow of her dialogue and her ear for the Yorkshire lilt. Her screenwriting flair also shines through in the deft jump-cuts between Lahore, Whitechapel and Yorkshire, and the arresting images of London's urban decay. . . . Particularly perceptive about first-generation immigrants’ preoccupations with minute class signifiers.”—Times Literary Supplement

“In Dastgir’s delicious debut novel, a clan of Pakistani immigrants navigates the treacherous territory between two cultures in an England of curry puddles, cunning imams, and failing convenience stores. Funny, compassionate and vivid with detail.”—Nayana Currimbhoy, author of Miss Timmins’ School for Girls

“Assimilation and self-interest are the competing themes in this wickedly witty, deeply moving novel. Yet it’s humanity in all its well-intentioned ineptitude that forms the real theme here—and for which Rosie Dastgir saves her choicest prose. A whole, complex world is on display here. I couldn’t put it down.”—Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of I’m So Happy For You and (forthcoming) The Pretty One

“Beautiful, intelligent and poignant. With honesty and insight, Rosie Dastgir reveals the triumphs and tragedies—not only when East meets West—but when any of us attempt to forge our own identity beneath the weight of history, culture and that most terrifying obstacle of all—family.”— Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, author of When Skateboards Will Be Free

Lucinda Rosenfeld

Assimilation and self-interest are the competing themes in this wickedly witty, deeply moving novel. Yet it's humanity in all its well-intentioned ineptitude that forms the real theme here—and for which Rosie Dastgir saves her choicest prose. A whole, complex world is on display here. I couldn't put it down. (Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of I'm So Happy For You and (forthcoming) The Pretty One)

Nayana Currimbhoy

In Dastgir's delicious debut novel, a clan of Pakistani immigrants navigates the treacherous territory between two cultures in an England of curry puddles, cunning imams, and failing convenience stores. Funny, compassionate and vivid with detail. (Nayana Currimbhoy, author of Miss Timmins' School for Girls)

Customer Reviews

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A Small Fortune 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
PeachesRR More than 1 year ago
Basically an interesting story and an insight into a culture which is displaced in Britain. The characters were well developed however I'm not sure that I cared very much what happened to them. So when the book just ended, it was somewhat unsatisfying. Maybe it was a happy ending - or maybe - life just goes on.
lucybrown on LibraryThing 22 days ago
As I began reading this book, I was expecting it to be rather like Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, a Pakistani-infused Pym-esque study of village life. That is not at all what this book is! Yes, there are moments of Pym like humor and examination of relationships, but the anguish of the three major characters is so palpable as to make this a not entirely comfortable reading experience. Harris, his daughter Alia and cousin-"nephew" Rashid are all at crossroads in their lives, and each feels pressure to appease conflicting demands of family, friends and faith. Living in a culture that seems hostile at times, Rashid is drawn in by a fundamentalist iman, but in doing so is unable to meet the very real needs of his family in Pakistan. Alia, a modern Londoner of mixed heritage struggles to free herself from her father's academic expectations for her as well as from his expectations of how she should conduct her romantic life. Harris, the nominal patriarch of the extended family, must a satisfactory way to dispose of some money from a settlement. Seems everyone feels some entitlement to his help, except Alia who wants to find her own way. An indecisive man who crumples under pressure and is already quite adrift and seeking shelter following his divorce, Harris is skillfully manipulated by one branch of cousins. To top it off he lands in what by his Islamic views is an unsuitable romantic alliance. I found myself keenly engaged in seeing how the three worked out their destinies. Dastigir's characters are sympathetically and well drawn, and as I said earlier, their worries left me wholly engaged, but at times uncomfortable. One aspect of the novel I found remarkable was the author's excellent ear for dialogue in a variety of from a variety of English regions and social castes. All in all an excellent analysis of very real characters in crisis.
ashmolean1 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I really loved this book. I regularly read Indian authors anyway and I was very impressed with the quality of the writing and with the author's ability to create believable characters. (Yes I know the author is half British/half Pakistani)It was interesting to me that she based her story in Britain and on issues dealing with family, religious pressures and adjusting to moving between diiferent cultures. I would rank her up there with Thrity Umrigar. Great read!
mlvanmeter-read on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Quite a departure from the world that I'm used to. I found the characters in this book (not sure if it's the Pakistani culture) to stress me out! I suppose that means the author did a good job at conveying the characters struggles, but I found it difficult to read. The source of the stress being the manipulation and lack of communication. I'm grateful that I'm not surrounded by family like this book. But then again, that may be because my family does not expect us to take care of each other. So in the end I found myself wondering which type of family really was best -- those that take care of each other, and sometime disappoint... or being on your own and knowing it...
mldavis2 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I had some mixed feelings about this novel. It is well written about a Pakistani family and the struggles about commitment to family expectations, obligations, Islamic religious belief interpretations and life in general. I felt both frustration and sorrow for the main character who allows himself to be manipulated by his family and his beliefs. On the plus side, it is an interesting look into Islamic life outside of the homeland.I received an Early Review proof of this book in exchange for an honest review.
nicole_a_davis on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Not a bad read and a fairly interesting story about a Pakistani man living in England, his daughter and their extended family. Each person is trying to find happiness and figure out their place in the world, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Some of the details about Pakistani and immigrant life were interesting. The contrast between the main character, who wanted to hold onto traditional Muslim values, and his daughter and girlfriend who were more Westernized was a nice aspect to the book. Even though this focused on Pakistani characters I think most people can identify with the humanness of the characters in their struggle to find their place in the world and relate to one another. I wish the book went deeper though--the plot was not very complex and when I finished I was left thinking, "what, that's it?"
melmmo on LibraryThing 22 days ago
A rich and engaging novel dealing with a Pakistani family in the UK. The writing is excellent and the story layered with well fleshed out characters. However, my enjoyment of the novel was hindered by unlikable characters who I could not connect with, or find an interest in.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
A beautifully written book filled with well thought out characters and an emotional depth that will keep readers wanting to know more about the struggles, joys, misunderstandings and complications of being Pakistani immigrants in the UK.
orangewords on LibraryThing 22 days ago
An heartfelt and charming novel about cross-culturalism and multi-generational family relationships, moving between the UK and Pakistan. Touching on themes such as loyalty, success, and familial obligation, Dastgir offers a rich and engaging debut novel.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing 22 days ago
On the surface A Small Fortune is about a lonely man who obtains an inheritance from a recent divorce. The dilemma is not what Harris should do with the money; there are plenty of family members who all feel entitled to at least a portion of it. First, there is the family back home in Harris's native Pakistan. Then there is his struggling nephew who can't find happiness with any employment venture. While she hasn't asked there is also his fiercely independent and completely Westernized eighteen year old daughter four hours away in London. The real struggle arises when Harris impulsively hands over a majority of the inheritance to the least deserving yet most conniving cousin. When Harris realizes his mistake and then wants the money back he cannot summon the authority to demand its return. Amidst all this turmoil Harris wrangles with starting over as a single parent to a secretive daughter while trying to juggle a new relationship with a woman equally as independent as his daughter. Harris's entire personality has to undergo a transformation in order for him to cope.
checkadawson on LibraryThing 22 days ago
I really connected with the chacters in this book, particularly Harris, the main character. Yes, he had some challenging personality traits and made some bad decisions, but he was such a well-meaning and kind person. I found his devotion to his faith to be particularly uplifting and inspiring, especially considering he is practicing a religion (Islam) that is not always welcomed in places like England. I would recommend this interesting family drama to others looking to learn more about the immigrant experience.
psychomamma on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Normally I have a 100 page limit - if I don't love a book by 100 pages, I put it down. Because this was an Early Reviewer book, I went against my instincts. It wasn't until about page 140 or so that I really cared if I picked it up again.Mostly, I think it was that I did not care for the characters. I didn't find them likeable, nor did I particularly care what happened to them. Ultimately, though, I think this is my own American viewpoint, and probably says something about my attitude about immigrant Pakistani families and their faith. All in all, it was good for me to learn more about the family dynamics and values that these families have, and hopefully now I can see them through another lens.
pinklady60 on LibraryThing 22 days ago
A Pakistani man living in England comes into 53,000 pounds from a divorce settlement. Because Islam states that wealth is a burden, Harris wants to unload the money as soon as possible and promises it to several different members of his family. Unfortunately, in a moment of weakness, he gives it all to one scheming cousin, causing friction among the others.This story is a unique look at family expectations, not only in relationship to money, but also in family and social values. It was interesting to see how the older adults, having reached maturity in Pakistan, interacted with the younger, Westernized generation. I was also intrigued and saddened by the section of the story involving Rashid and how easily he was manipulated by the imam at the mosque. I¿ll definitely be looking for more books by this new author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not the world's greatest thriller