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Apr092011

Readers Respond

 

 

just finished the book. great job! it's heart-breaking, and yet hopeful. you end with hope, and that's good. a great story. gripping and revealing. and i love how you end not demonizing the muslim faith, but reinterpreting the koran to demonstrate a rooted love ethic that male-dominated societies have ignored 

Now available on Page Readers:  http://pagereadersbtr.blogspot.com/2011/05/my-sisters-made-of-light-review-by.html

and SOON TO APPEAR IN THE NEXT ISSUE OF MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

My Sisters Made of Light is a brilliant book made of beauty and an honest look at brutality, deep insights and soaring lyricism. It is fiction based on the harsh realities of the culturally and socially accepted  honor crimes against women in Pakistan.  We watch in horror as a father lights a disobedient daughter on fire. We read in disbelief as a mother escorts a hired assassin to a meeting with her daughter and watches as he shoots her child dead. We hold our breath as a Muslim woman escapes her family to marry a Sikh man whom she adores. Theirs is a love of historic significance.  The author encapsulates a long and bloody history into unforgettable images:

        In 1958 the air was still sour with the stench of the slaughters that had occurred eleven years earlier when the British ran like dogs and India cracked. The blade that slashed the map also partitioned the bodies of the people, etching fear in their bellies and revenge in their hearts. . . . . . If a trainful of Hindus was murdered by Muslims from Lahore (and they were), then a trainful of Muslims would be murdered by Sikhs and Hindus from Amritstar (and they were).  Entire families were butchered and their body parts were delivered by horseback to their villages. The people emptied baskets of breasts and pails of penises onto the ground  - even the stubs of baby penises with scrotums like tiny figs. The soil was soaked with all the lost futures and when it was done, when the trauma finally subsided to abide in the bodies of the people, they had to plant seeds in and eat the fruit of that same earth. Sikhs and Muslims alike knew the taste of each other’s blood well and they kept to their own.

        Kulrag and Nafeesa in London. Romeo and Juliet in Verona. A Muslim and a Sikh in Pakistan.  All of history conspired against them, but no matter. They would find a new way.

This book is about the courageous women who risk their lives to teach a new way to the young women of Pakistan.  Interspersed in the rich mix of their stories are passages of pure poetry:

I knelt before the shrine for long periods. I read no textbooks. Poured no oil on the doorstep. Took no milk in my tea. No tea. No dusty sandals. No laundry. No letters. No toothbrush. No prayers. No songs. No memories. No soft sisters. No tough sisters. No purpose. No me. For days and days I faded away.

The author has sought and achieved recognition and success in the fields of law and literature in order to further her agenda of making the world safer for women. She donates half the proceeds from sales of the book to a grassroots organization building a safe shelter for women and children escaping abuse. Even if it were not a great read, buying this book helps people in need. The bonus to the reader is that it IS a great read.

Sandra Shwayder Sanchez, reviewer

author of Stillbird, Three Novellas, A Mile in These Shoes

www.thewessexcollective.com

"Loved your book, especially the parents' love story and, biggest surprise, the prison superintendent.  She and the guru-like father got into my heart."
"I'm enjoying your book.  Hard to get into at first, with its grim subject matter, but powerful, with wonderful descriptions and uplifting sense of passion, for justice, yours and the characters'.  I really loved the parents' story, the Sikh father and the "sloppy Muslim" mother.  I can't believe you left us hanging there, at the Shalimar gardens!"
"I stayed up late to finish your book, tearing running down my eyes and unable to stop.  You write so well and tell the story powerfully.  Thanks so much for sharing these women's lives.  We hope to pass the word to all we know.  May the book travel wide..."
 “I wanted to let you know that your book was my book club's selection a couple of months ago and is a future selection for a second group I'm in. . . .The reason that I'm emailing you is that the first group wants to ask if the scene in which Faisah and Lea share the sugar cane and sleep on the roof has lesbian implications.
The book was received quite well.  The ending was met with some skepticism as being too simple and happy with no one "paying" for the escape.  I personally thought it was good and especially so for being a first novel.  I also learned a lot.”
"I absolutely loved the book--very powerful--told by families one can relate to.  Excellent character development, and I learned a lot."
"I LOVED your book - very moving and captivating. Well done."
“. . . I had begun My Sisters Made of Light having been pulled in by the strong cover and the title. I was totally enamored  from beginning to end--the story, the geography, the culture. And having come from a family of sisters, I loved seeing how a mother's passion could affect her female offspring in such a significant way. . ."

 

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