Spending the summer in the Eastern Sierra lends itself to plenty of down time to enjoy a good book (or two, or three, or four). Thanks to my sweet daughter, Becky, I’m currently enjoying Rafia Zakaria’s The Upstairs Wife, an intimate history of Pakistan. This “lyrical, richly detailed” memoir speaks to my soul. Especially the part of my soul that understands the struggles of 20th century women (no matter from what country) and the ways we all coped and are still coping with social inequalities, injustice, and mistreatment.
I LOVE the author’s command of the language and her sweet, story-telling point of view as a young girl in an emerging nation. In the following passage from The Upstairs Wife, she speaks of her aunt, whose husband has just taken a second wife (legal under Muslim law at the time.)
Excerpt from The Upstairs Wife
“Aunt Amina was there when we returned home from school that day and the one after. She stayed as one December day flowed into another and everyone dragged out their shawls and sweaters to bundle up against the barest bit of cold. She was there and not there, a diminished Aunt Amina, an approximation of the witty woman whose jokes and inflected barbs spiked up casual afternoon chats and whose cuddles had infused me with warmth for as long as I could remember. The woman I saw had been wrung out like the washing that hung outside the kitchen window: twisted, drained, and turned to squeeze out every drop of spirit.”
I adore a good memoir–one that gets to the heart of the story and into the soul of the reader. The Upstairs Wife doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend this outstanding book.
About the Author
Author Rafia Zakaria is a columnist for Al Jazeera America, Ms., Dissent, and DAWN, Pakistan’s largest English-language newspaper. In addition, she is an attorney and human rights activist who has worked on behalf of victims of domestic violence around the world.
What’s on your summer reading list? Any recommendations for me? I’ve got lots of time to enjoy.