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Trespassing    by Uzma Aslam Khan order for
by Uzma Aslam Khan
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Daanish, a Pakistani student, returns to Karachi from his American university to mourn his father's death. Dia attends college in Karachi, where she is not doing well. Her friend Nini is to be engaged to Daanish, but Dia and Daanish find each other instead. Predictable? Maybe so.

A love story sure. But more driving, a story of Pakistan today. Its culture, mores, foods, clothing and most importantly its political situation - including Pakistan's take on 'Amreeka', a country that falls short in the minds of Pakistani citizens. Tradition and customs play a heavy role in this tale of political intrigue and oppression, and its effects on the common man. The backgrounds of both Daanish's family and that of Dia are rife with turmoil. Wishing for what can never be doesn't make it right, or make it happen.

The characters seem hard to get to know, caught up as they are in their own way of life. But they do leap from the page with emotions and despair. Daanish's mother Anu is a sad figure, never knowing where she stands in the family hierarchy and fighting the aloneness she feels. The best she can do is struggle to survive, and live to see Daanish marry and produce grandchildren. Given America's involvement today with the Muslim world, Trespassing is a must-read. Look for a sleeper of an ending.

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