Genre Hampers Pakistani Family's Tale

Winnipeg Free Press, March 15, 2014 | Go to article overview

Genre Hampers Pakistani Family's Tale


In this work of literary non-fiction, Haroon K. Ullah attempts to do for the average middle-class family in Pakistan what journalist Asne Seierstad did for their Afghani counterparts in her bestseller The Bookseller of Kabul. Unfortunately for Ullah, despite his extensive expertise as a researcher, he's not quite able to make the same impact as a writer.

The Bargain from the Bazaar is based on the real-life events surrounding the Reza family between 2008 and 2012 in Lahore, Pakistan, and set against the backdrop of post-9/11 geopolitics: failed attempts to block the influences of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan, a surge in local suicide bombings, corruption of Pakistani officials and the continual bombardment by U.S. drones.

The story follows the lives of shop owner Awais Reza, his wife Shez and their three adult sons, Salman, Daniyal and Kamran. Just as Awais represents the "everyman" of Pakistan, each son symbolizes one of the many conflicting forces at play in Pakistani society today: tradition, extremism and modernity.

While Salman is trained to take over the family business and Kamran attends law school, it is Daniyal who, unbeknownst to his family, is recruited on a suicide-bombing mission by the imam at his madrassah. To Ullah's credit, it's the "does-he/doesn't-he" question that successfully motivates the reader to keep turning the pages to the very end.

Ullah's intention to bring to light the challenges affecting the average family in today's Pakistan is a worthy one. With a country so marked by negative media portrayals and infamous for its political corruption, too often the depth and diversity of the peoples and the cultures are forgotten or disregarded.

In the author's note, Ullah is keen to point out the extent to which he researched this book: hundreds of interviews with Pakistanis of all backgrounds including Taliban and al-Qaida operatives, eight years of field research and witnessing key events first-hand.

Despite all this, it is Ullah's decision to present his work in the format of a novel that is his downfall. The genre of literary non-fiction is a fine balancing act between staying true to facts and presenting complex and nuanced human experiences through emotive literary devices. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Genre Hampers Pakistani Family's Tale
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.