12 November, 2014

#BookReview :: An Isolated Incident by Soniah Kamal

Zari Zoon, a vivacious girl from Kashmir, is looking forward to marrying her fiance when tragedy strikes. Next thing she know, she is on a plane to America to stay with distant relatives who have offered to give her a temporary home to help her stitch back the tatters of her life.

Billy Nabi, fiercely tender-hearted, longs to help Zari but the choices he makes will jeopardise them all.
An Isolated Incident is a story of haunting memories and yearnings of a home lost, of a faith continuously tested and questioned and of a love that blossoms against all odds.




‘An Isolated Incident’ follows the life of Zari Zoon, a Kashmiri girl. She could the girl next door, with a typical life and typical problems even while living under the threat of terrorism at all times. That is until an incident changes her life forever and she is sent abroad for a new beginning. But the new life and the journey towards it could tangle up Zari’s life yet again.

First and most important element of this book is the character of Zari. She belongs to Kashmir – a state under the constant threat of terrorism. Even with everything going on around her, she manages to build a somewhat normal life for herself only for it to be snatched away from her. She then embarks upon a new life in a new place, yet the threat never really goes away. Zari is such a character that you cannot help but feel for. The author has done an admirable job in building her up and portraying her life. Then there is Billy with his own fair share of baggage. Billy’s character could do with a bit of polish and fine tuning. I failed to connect with this character and his decisions.

The plot in itself is another fantastic element that includes a lot of issues. For instance, it gives us a look into the lives of the Kashmiris in general. It also includes a glimpse into the world of a girl who is sequestered by a, sadly enough, a very common incident and it makes you wonder about our society that is such an expert at victimizing the victims. The author has done an incredible job of portraying the situations without pointing fingers or sounding preachy. There were twists and turns in the novel that were easy to spot and though the ending was quite predictable too, it was really interesting to take this journey with Zari.

This is a well written novel with crisp language and detailed narratives. The author has set the book in multiple locations and each come with enough description so as to help the readers’ imagination. It was also a refreshing change from reading the commercial love stories that flood the Indian markets constantly.

Overall this was one hell of an emotional roller-coaster ride that wrenches your heart.



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