Thursday, December 08, 2005

Of Salt and Saffron

I have been looking for a Kamila Shamsie book for aeons. So, when I finally found the acclaimed Salt and Saffron, I have been sneaking a read in between work. She is particularly appealing as a writer because she embodies a disparate voice: young, bold, woman, Muslim, Pakistani.

Salt and Safron has good moments. The legendary Mariam Apa (Aunty Mariam ) and her mouth watering orders to the cook are definitely highlights. The whole story centers around a woman’s search for a sense of self and love. The central character hails from an upper class family, leaves Karachi to study in London but has her heart in Pakistan. It is in London that she meets the handsome poor student from the other side of her hometown, who is salt, common, to her rarified saffron.

Yet. The search for self and all that is just a bit too pat. And all that talk about food throughout the book gave me indigestion.

Why is it that when I read books displaying Muslim women's voice, I generally come out disappointed? I feel as if something is missing. Like being invited into a house with no windows. A stifling house that encloses with too much clutter. I am being told too many things. And at the end of the day, nothing. I had the same feeling when I turned to the last page of Ahdaf Soueif's In the Eye of the Sun and Monica Ali's Brick Lane. Disappointment.

Perhaps, I should try the highly recommended Sara Suleri’s Meatless Days instead. Anybody can suggest a book that carries a Muslim woman's voice with greater sensitivity?


At 12/10/2005 12:21:00 pm, Blogger The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Hello! Am here after a while. Have you read Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam? I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking , but it is a wonderful read. To me the book represented so many different aspects of the Muslime community - the staunch believers, the rebels and those who wanted to rebel but couldn't do so openly.

At 12/11/2005 07:25:00 am, Blogger The Box said...

I wrote something on saffron a little while back. :-)
No real point actually, just something I learnt that day and decided to blog about it.
Check it out if you want.

At 12/12/2005 03:54:00 pm, Blogger Jane Sunshine said...

Shoefi: Yes, I have heard of Aslam and will pile the book on my 'to read' list.

Box: Ergh....thanks for the info?

I am going to link both of you when I come around to setting up the link thingy.

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