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Season of the Rainbirds by Nadeem Aslam
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Season of the Rainbirds

by Nadeem Aslam

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1045171,305 (3.37)11

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3.5/5. Rather amorphous atmosphere-drenched novel of the people in a small village in Pakistan. From mention of "The General" and the attempt on his life, I assumed it was the Pakistan of Zia-ul-Haq. Quite different from what I thought it would be: a murder mystery on the death of a corrupt judge and how a bag of mail lost for 19 years but eventually found had influence on the solution. I was wrong; the mailbag was an anticlimax having nothing to do with the murder, and culprit was found early on. Beautiful writing; I felt myself strongly insinuated into the lives of the villagers, from a cleric, a landowner, the Deputy Commissioner, his Christian mistress, to the common people and their wives and children. The author's first novel; I got a taste for what he might become as a writer. I do want to read some of his later work.

Recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | May 21, 2017 |
Season of the Rainbirds was Nadeem Aslam's debut novel, first published in 1993, and a dramatic, well-crafted novel it is, taking two literary awards, the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award.

There is an understated control to Aslam's narrative, chronicling the murder of a corrupt Pakistani judge and the seemingly unrelated discovery of missing postal bags of letters from a train crash 19 years earlier.

Within this mystery are two men, one spiritual, one investigative, charged with the protection of the village. Through their stories and their struggles, Aslam reveals the ambiguities of the interpretation of temporal and spiritual laws, of well-meaning perpetuation of ignorance, and the hopelessness of achieving any form of clarity or meaningful justice.

Not unlike Rohinton Mistry in style, Aslam's adept use of understatement and simplicity serve as counterpoint to a complex social order and society. There are no simple answers. The world is shaded in grey, despite attempts by leaders to clearly define and categorize a repressive regime and social system. And Aslam's use of evocative yet simple language and metaphor serve as deft strokes of shading and colour for the reader, creating an unforgettable yet bewildering image.

Recommended reading. ( )
  fiverivers | Jul 7, 2013 |
This was Nadeem Aslam's first novel, but I first discovered him when I read (and later ringed) his second novel - Maps for Lost Lovers - which I thought was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed this one too.

This beautifully written novel centres on the inhabitants of a small town and: the discovery of a sack of letters, missing for 19 years, the murder of Judge Anwar, and an affair between Muslim deputy Commissioner and a young christian woman. These different plot strands are subtely woven together, to create a community under pressure. The small town political and religious tensions are really well observed. Set against the backdrop of a monsoon season, this is an atmospheric novel, that doesn't have any shattering plot twists or very much to "say", it;s the story of a small isolated community in Pakistan, but it is a really excellent novel nontheless. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Jun 27, 2009 |
Fantastic. ( )
  headisdead | Apr 22, 2006 |
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A sack of letters lost in a train crash nineteen years previously has mysteriously reappeared, and the inhabitants of a small town in Pakistan are waiting anxiously to see what long-buried secrets will come to light. Could the letters have any bearing on Judge Anwar's murder? In one of the most exquisite fictional debuts of the last ten years, Nadeem Aslam creates an exotic and timeless world, but one whose traditional rituals of everyday life are played out against an ominous backdrop of faraway civil wars, assassinations, changing regimes and religious tensions.… (more)

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