Shame – Salman Rushdie

I read this book a while ago, and I remember it well. Like many other books by Rushdie it’s written in the style of magical realism (which I love) and deals with postcolonial and political issues. As you may have guessed from the title, its central theme is shame, and its opposite, shamelessness. Shame provides an in depth critique of Pakistan’s social and political history following partition – wherein Pakistan embodies both shame, in the form of massacres, hypocrisy and corruption, and shamelessness, for allowing those things to happen. Two major characters in Pakistan’s real history, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and General Zia Ul-Haq are veiled as characters in the novel, Iskander Harappa and Raza Hyder, who become embroiled in political turmoil that mirrors the 1979 coup in Pakistan. The novel intertwines this political account with stories of two other central characters, Oman and Sufiya both of whom are born into shame, and explores issues such as heritage and truth. It really is a wonderful book, informative and intriguing, exciting and beautifully written.

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