City of Spies

This delicate political novel evokes the sights and smells of the Pakistan of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Zia. We are inside the head of a child spying on her past. I read CITY OF SPIES as the story of another school girl in Pakistan, a different Malala. This Malala unmasks a whole new landscape of feeling.”

Amitava Kumar

City of Spies deftly braids together these personal and political strands. And Khan neatly incorporates the international complexities of the times into Aliya’s efforts to understand what makes her singular–and what makes her part of a tribe.”

Washington Post

Khan writes with lovely elegance. . . .the novel is a moving success and necessary at a time when many of the same concerns have come to dominate our national (and international) consciousness.”

Kirkus Reviews

An amazing book. I loved it.”

Steve Kerr, Coach, Golden State Warriors

Best International Fiction Book Award, Sharjah Book Fair (2015)

A Huffington Post 28 New Fiction Books to Add to Your Must-Read List This Fall (2017)

A Global Citizen 20 Powerful Books Global Citizens Should Read This Fall (2017)

When a hit-and-run driver kills a boy, eleven-year-old Aliya Shah’s world
is turned upside down. Aliya, who is half Pakistani and half Dutch,

learns the truth behind the tragedy,
and her conflicting loyalties are tested as never before.


Through the eyes of a young girl, CITY OF SPIES brings to vivid life a crucial episode in the history of the United States and Pakistan, at the moment of the Iran hostage crisis. The tensions and confusions of that time are intensely relevant today. Sorayya Khan’s rich and compelling novel is a gem.”

Claire Messud, The Emperor’s Children

In her story, the city may be full of spies, and prone to making mistakes, but they are also capable of forgiveness and surprising humanity.”


It is a coming of age novel. But it isn’t just that.”


The novel is a gripping, coming-of-age story that explores and delves into Aliya’s conflicting loyalties and her ongoing struggle to make sense of her world.”

Mail Today

CITY OF SPIES reminds readers that children bear witness to, and the weight of, the history unfolding around them.”


The author, whose previous books also incisively and empathically deal with Pakistan at other crucial times of its life, spins the same magic…”

Business Standard

On turning the last page, one cannot help but feel that Khan should be commended for structuring a work of fiction that both furthers the overall development of Pakistani fiction and joins the ranks of entertaining and well-written modern novels.”


“The Islamabad of Aliya’s childhood–and the writer’s–is so remote that the only way to keep it alive is by writing about it.”

Financial Express