Author Dr. Khan-Hudson’s catharsis inspired novel illuminates key aspects of her early life in Qatar, Pakistan, her ultimate relocation to America and the joy of finding love in her American husband, Rob. The story begins with vivid imagery from Hudson’s past and the first chapter instantly evokes empathy in the reader. The tale’s protagonist, Saha Noor, comes from a uniquely humanistic Muslim family, who, though still somewhat devout, abide by a set of regiments, which they themselves have created.
Far from the usual happenings within her community, her parents have no desire for her to adhere to the restrictions presented by her religious beliefs. Instead, they encourage, if not demand, that she obtains an education. With their constant urging, she manages to get admitted to, and graduates from, a prestigious medical school in her homeland. Her parents, pleased with her accomplishments, readily assume that she will be more than happy to comply with their next expectation: an arranged marriage.
Although she loves her parents and wants desperately to appease them, Saha cannot bear the thought of marrying a man she doesn’t love. Emotionally conflicted by her affection for her parents and her own individualism, she seeks the assistance of her beloved Grandmother. This is a dramatic turning point of the story. The unthinkable happens, an untimely event that changes her life forever. In an incredibly brutal and spontaneous attack, both her grandparents are murdered. Utterly devastated and helplessly trying to come to terms with the tragedy, she makes the decision to leave Pakistan for a new life in the United States. With the novel’s progression, she obtains a greater sense of self. She gains insight into the political upheavals and ongoing violence in her country. She also starts to realize that although there are many pronounced differences between western and eastern societies, there are also many similarities. Good writing and a good read.
By Rebecca Nichloson