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Romeo & Juliet in Pakistan

My Sisters Made of Light by Jacqueline St. Joan


This deeply moving and well-told tale of women in Pakistan — victims of so-called honor crimes, including murder, and their allies and advocates both female and male — effectively immerses the reader in an important culture and cultural divide. While it may be impossible to ever comprehend the motives behind honor crimes, the novel makes a clear case for the need to eliminate them entirely.

An excerpt:

Kulraj and Nafeesa in London. Romeo and Juliet in Verona. A Muslim and a Sikh in Pakistan. All of history conspired against them, but no matter. They would find a new way.

            One day Nafeesa and Kulraj met at a London tea shop. Its walls were lined with shelves of books, cups and saucers, metal canisters of tea. His knees could not fit under the tiny tables.

            “I have to admit, before I met you, I’d only seen Sikhs from a distance,” Nafeesa said. Kulraj’s teacup clattered against its saucer.

            “Yes, religious minorities in Pakistan, or in London, for that matter, have little opportunity for social interaction,” he said.

            “I’ve offended you?”

            No. It is my choice whether to take offense or not. But it is not easy to be a Sikh in an Islamic country.”

            Then she tested him.

            “Yes. It must be something like being a woman in a man’s world?”

            “Yes, it must be,” he said, relieved.” (Kindle edition, location 1333ff.)

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