#Blogtour No Honour by Awais Khan @AwaisKhanAuthor @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NoHonour

Orenda Books 19th August 2021

The Blurb

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore – only to disappear.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

My Review

It was only in the last few years that we truly began to understand the trauma many women from various parts of the world suffered at the hands of male family members. From forced marriages, to punishment and even murder for holding hands, sex and pregnancy outside of marriage it shocked the wider community.

Khan took all of those aspects and literally ripped apart a Pakistani family, a family in a small village in rural Pakistan lorded over by a local Pir who ruled with fear and rhetoric. His use of the individual voices of Jamil and his daughter Abida was, I think the only way he could have got across to the reader the abject fear, and emotion of his characters.

Abida, forbidden love, a pregnancy, the horror of mob rule as they bayed for her death, for her father to give the nod. Khan’s narrative had me right there, made me sense her fear, but also the anger, the absolute disgust that a community could be so vicious in their intent.

Jamil’s absolute desperation, the unbelievable decision Khan had him make was breathtaking yet there was more to come, not only for Jamil but for Abida.

The contrast between rural Pakistan and the big city of Lahore was striking, and I revelled in Khan’s descriptions of its sights and sounds. Abida’s naivety, her faith in her new husband were to some extent her downfall but I loved that Khan also used it to show a young woman who somehow found inner resolve, and a strength that was astounding as events led her further and further into the abyss.

The cruelty, the absolute hell she endured was difficult to read and Khan didn’t spare any details. It was a narrative he had to use, the only way he could truly reflect what Abida and indeed other women must suffer.

For me it was Jamil’s voice that struck a chord, a husband, a father who had to walk a tightrope between the modern and the traditional world, who needed to protect his family but the love for his daughter became all encompassing. Khan gave him a steely resolve, a willingness to put his family at stake, to fight for what he knew in his heart was right. It was perhaps his past, memories of his own mothers experiences that drove him, that made him defy so many of his male compatriots.

The ensuing drama was full of heart in your mouth moments, of betrayal and violence and even in the aftermath their safety was never guaranteed.

It was dark, brutal and violent but Khan never lost sight of the story he was trying to tell, of the need to protect a family name, to tie women to the worst part of the male psyche. Yes, it was tradition but was it a tradition that fit in today’s society, were women to be kept as virtual slaves, illiterate, downtrodden, enveloped in constant fear?

To our western eyes obviously that would be a no, and as Khan’s novel so blatantly told us, it’s a battle we must fight with education, and support.

No Honour was truly eye opening, fascinating and very very good.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of No Honour to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University, and studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim, and he now regularly appears on TV and radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He lives in Lahore and is currently working on his third novel.

Follow Awais on Twitter @AwaisKhanAuthor.

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