Thursday, July 9, 2015

Trespassing by Uzma Aslam Khan


Trespassing by Uzma Aslam Khan

 Published in 2005, Trespassing is the forbidden love story of the rebellious Dia and the student Daanish. Dia’s mother, Riffat, was educated in London and has been running the family’s silk farm singlehandedly since her husband’s unsolved murder. She has raised Dia to be fiercely independent, assuring her that she will only let her marry for love. Daanish has been on a scholarship in America to study journalism, returning home to Pakistan for his father’s funeral. Meanwhile, Daanish’s mother Anu has been planning on arranging Daanish’s wedding when he returns to Pakistan and has planned a meeting between Dia’s best friend Nini and Daanish. Nini brings Dia along for support but soon regrets her decision as the chemistry between Daanish and Dia grows stronger.

A forbidden love story

The two embark on an illicit affair with assistance from a servant who drives them out to an idyllic beach cove for their meetings. Whilst this forms the main narrative arc of the novel, Khan weaves several separate stories along the way. The novel is set in different time periods, showing us Dia and Daanish’s lives before they met one another. For instance, Dia and Daanish are both frustrated with their education: Dia is surrounded by those who see cheating as acceptable whilst Daanish’s professor insists that he stop trying to give a more wholesome account of the Gulf War as American readers wouldn’t be interested. Salaamat, the servant who helps Daanish and Dia, is forced to move from his village to Karachi to find work and we see the underbelly of the city through his eyes. The silk farm run by Dia’s mother Riffat features prominently, as Dia is obsessed with watching the silkworms develop they almost become a separate character within the novel by themselves.

A novel divided by time, geography and characters

The novel is divided into the perspectives from the four major characters: Dia, Daanish, Anu (Daanish’s mother) and Salaamat and finally an explosive chapter towards the end of the novel from Riffat’s perspective that is full of surprises. The chapters are divided between time periods, present day or a piece of the character’s past that illuminates their current situation. It is cleverly written, as Uzma Aslam Khan expertly weaves the individual narratives of these characters together with a peppering of romance, mystery, politics and intrigue.  Khan has expertly depicted a Pakistan that is influenced by the West. Through the expectations placed on Daanish by those both in Pakistan and the US we see the prejudices faced by an international student alongside the pressure placed on them by their local community. 

A thought provoking read

Trespassing is an interesting read, with mysteries, romance and drama unfolding along the way.  It is a story of forbidden love, political troubles, education, and the silk industry.  The prose is thoughtful and poetic as you get to know each of these characters and their individual story lines which come together powerfully at the end of the novel. Trespassing is available from Amazon for £11.99 or £7.89 on Kindle, but is also a lot cheaper from second-hand sellers (for a mere penny!)



Mandy said...

Thank you so much for including my post in this roundup! And you're right, that salad looks amazing. I'm a big fan of fruit + veggie salads, especially with some nuts.

xo Mandy | A Girl, Obsessed

Louise @ said...

You're welcome! I'm a big fan of your blog! xo

AmandaEmma Nissen said...

I need to read the post about Plath! I wrote a paper about her for an English/Psychology assignment. I read The Bell Jar 3 or 4 times in a few months because I had to use it and I loved it!

Louise @ said...

That sounds like such an interesting paper! I'm glad you enjoyed the post about Plath; she's a constant source of intrigue for many I think, myself included! xo

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