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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif
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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (edition 2012)

by Mohammed Hanif

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1148105,887 (3.54)69
Member:kidzdoc
Title:Our Lady of Alice Bhatti
Authors:Mohammed Hanif
Info:Knopf (2012), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:Pakistani literature, Pakistan, DSC Prize for South Asian Literature shortlist, Karachi, medicine, terrorism

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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
There is no doubt that Mohammed Hanif is a master of juggling wit, irony, dry humour and the various problems in our society. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is an excellent example of that smooth juggle.

However, when compared to A Case of Exploding Mangoes, one does feel that this novel does not match up to it's predecessor's greatness in prose and style.

Still, it was a good read showing a very different perspective.

The best thing about Hanif Sahib's writing is that the reader is allowed to look through the eyes of various characters in various walks of life which gives the reader the opportunity to decide what is right and what is wrong and what is just what it is, rather than having the writer decide it for him/her. This gives the reader a sense of empowerment.

It is a joy to read his writing! ( )
  Ymusmani | Sep 19, 2013 |
The author keeps his tongue planted firmly in cheek. This book achieves and maintains a biting wit while exposing the modest hopes and blind cynicism of its characters. Not uplifting but not exactly depressing either. The witty tone keeps the readers nicely struggling for a firm foothold. It is a scathing portrayal of sorts, more a satire with a very straight face. ( )
  ming.l | Mar 31, 2013 |
What a good book! Social satire, yes, and there is quite of bit humor in here, but its often an incredulous chuckle and a "god, do people really *do* those things?" The world in which junior nurse Alice Bhatti lives is dirty, violent, and bleak. The system is not one that treats women or poor people or people of lower castes (caste systems still exist?? yes they do) well. Violence, whether physical or sexual, is a tool used freely and Alice Bhatti is an exceptional woman in that she doesn't quietly put up with it. Whether its a rich man trying to sexually assault her, or a crazed lover trying to get her attention in all the wrong ways, Alice Bhatti stands up for herself (albeit not always with great results). A complicated story, with off the wall characters and tragicomedy to spare. Wonderful writing, a biting look at the plight of women and other oppressed groups in modern Pakistan. ( )
  eenerd | Jan 28, 2013 |
The latest novel by Mohammed Hanif, author of the Booker Prize longlisted novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, is set in contemporary Karachi, Pakistan in the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments, a public hospital formerly established by the Catholic Church and led by a Catholic chief medical officer but staffed by Muslim doctors and nurses. Alice Bhatti is a newly hired nurse who trained at Sacred Heart, but was forced to leave due to her outspoken Christian beliefs and a trumped up conviction of attempted murder. She is single, attractive and well endowed, which makes her the source of unwanted attention from male patients and visitors to Sacred Heart. She is friends with Noor, a teenage street urchin who has managed to obtain a jack of all trades position at Sacred Heart while caring for his mother, who is dying from three cancers. Noor is also friends with Teddy Butt, a bodybuilder with a violent temper who works with but is not a member of the G Squad, a shadowy arm of the Pakistani police which captures, tortures and kills insurgents that terrorize the civilian population.

Teddy falls in love with Alice, who suddenly agrees to marry him after rejecting his initial advances. Their flawed relationship, Teddy's troubled activities with the G Squad and Alice's apparent ability to bring the dead and dying to life form the major subjects of this novel. Unfortunately, I found [Our Lady of Alice Bhatti] to be quite implausible, as its stories about medical practice and the daily workings of a large public hospital strained credulity, and its characters were dull and inscrutable. The novel consisted of a series of connected events rather than a cohesive story, and by the end I had completely lost interest in what happened to Alice, Teddy and Noor. ( )
1 vote kidzdoc | Jan 7, 2013 |
After spending over a year in a women's prison on some jacked up manslaughter charges, Alice Bhatti secures a job as a junior nurse in a Catholic hospital in the predominantly Muslim city of Karachi. There, she fights to salvage some amount of pride as she fends off roaming hands and gun-toting suitors. In the midst of this chaos, she manages to save a few lives. But is she performing miracles? Hanif's narrative has some truly beautiful moments, but I was left wondering: What's the point? There wasn't really a story-line...it was just a series of events. The scenery and characters supported the novel, but they lacked plot. This book was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust book prize, and I understand why - it displays the woes of practicing medicine in a religiously-charged, seedy environment. I certainly have a better appreciation, now, for medical practitioners in neighborhoods like this. I was moved by the characters, but not enthralled by the story. ( )
2 vote The_Hibernator | Dec 1, 2012 |
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Book description
he patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All ailments are looking for a miracle, and Alice Bhatti is looking for a job.

Alice is a candidate for the position of Junior Nurse, Grade 4. It is only a few weeks since her release from Borstal. She has returned to her childhood home in French Colony, where her father, the recently retired chief janitor, continues work as a part-time healer and full-time headache for the local church. It seems she has inherited some of his gift. With guidance from the working nurse's manual, and some tricks she picked up in prison, Alice brings succour to the thousands of patients littering the hospital's corridors and concrete courtyard. In the process she attracts the attention of a lovesick patient, Teddy Butt, apprentice to the nefarious 'Gentlemen's Squad' of the Karachi police. They fall in love; Teddy with sudden violence, Alice with cautious optimism. Their love is unexpected, but the consequences are not.

Alice soon finds that her new life is built on foundations as unstable as those of her home. A Catholic snubbed by other Catholics, who are in turn hated by everyone around them, she is also put at risk by her husband who does two things that no other member of the Gentlemen's Squad has ever done - fall in love with a working girl, and allow a potentially dangerous suspect to get away. Can Teddy and Alice ever live in peace? Can two people make a life together without destroying the very thing that united them? It seems unlikely, but then Alice Bhatti is no ordinary nurse...
Filled with wit, colour and pathos, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is a glorious story of second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in unlikely places, set in the febrile streets of downtown Karachi. It is a remarkable new novel from the author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes
The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All ailments are looking for a miracle, and Alice Bhatti is looking for a job.

Alice is a candidate for the position of Junior Nurse, Grade 4. It is only a few weeks since her release from Borstal. She has returned to her childhood home in French Colony, where her father, the recently retired chief janitor, continues work as a part-time healer and full-time headache for the local church. It seems she has inherited some of his gift. With guidance from the working nurse's manual, and some tricks she picked up in prison, Alice brings succour to the thousands of patients littering the hospital's corridors and concrete courtyard. In the process she attracts the attention of a lovesick patient, Teddy Butt, apprentice to the nefarious 'Gentlemen's Squad' of the Karachi police. They fall in love; Teddy with sudden violence, Alice with cautious optimism. Their love is unexpected, but the consequences are not.

Alice soon finds that her new life is built on foundations as unstable as those of her home. A Catholic snubbed by other Catholics, who are in turn hated by everyone around them, she is also put at risk by her husband who does two things that no other member of the Gentlemen's Squad has ever done - fall in love with a working girl, and allow a potentially dangerous suspect to get away. Can Teddy and Alice ever live in peace? Can two people make a life together without destroying the very thing that united them? It seems unlikely, but then Alice Bhatti is no ordinary nurse...
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When Alice Bhatti returns to her childhood home in the French Colony, she starts work at the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments, healing the sick. She falls in love with Teddy Bunt, apprentice to the nefarious Gentleman Squad of the Karachi police. Their love is unexpected but the consequences are not.… (more)

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