– Bapsi Sidhwa
Lahore, 1947. Dina Lal, a true-blue Lahori, refuses to leave, staying put in Five Queen’s Road, a house he bought, in spite of his wife’s greatest misgivings, from an Englishman who was deeply reluctant to part with it. To insulate his family from the mayhem on the streets, Dina Lal converts to Islam and as added protection invites Amir Shah, a Muslim colleague, and his children, Javid and Rubina, to share the house with him. But the events that unfold over the next few months make a mockery of Dina Lal’s plans. While Dina Lal and Amir Shah cross swords with each other at every given opportunity–though unexpectedly and in spite of themselves rushing to the other’s defence in moments of crisis–a furtive friendship blossoms between Dina Lal and Javid.
Ten years later, Javid’s European wife, Irene, still struggling with her World War II memories, joins the tumultuous household. Inexplicably, the lines of the house are redrawn, and the new border is no less arbitrary and contentious than the one that sundered the subcontinent. While the house is steadily encroached upon by a car shop settlement and a sweeper’s colony, the occupants’ long-standing feud reaches new heights. But the family sees an unexpected alliance develop and loyalties, to person and nation, are scrutinized.
In this stunning novel that weaves family saga and national history, Sorayya Khan writes deftly of characters who battle memories and each other alike.
–Organizer, New Delhi
-Indian Express, New Delhi
– Newsline, Karachi
–The Tribune, New Delhi