Salt and SaffronBook - 2000
Aliya, a Pakistani girl living in the United States, attempts to uncover the meaning of an old family curse and the mystery surrounding her aunt Mariam, her "not-quite twin."
A beautiful novel detailing the life and loves of a Pakistani girl living in the U.S.
Aliya may not have inherited her family's patrician looks, but she is as much a prey to the legends of her family that stretch back to the days of Timur Lang. Aristocratic and eccentric-the clan has plenty of stories to tell, and secrets to hide.
Like salt and saffron, which both flavor food but in slightly different ways, it is the small, subtle differences that cause the most trouble in Aliya's family. The family problems and scandals caused by these minute differences echo the history of the sub-continent and the story of Partition.
A superb storyteller, Kamila Shamsie writes with warmth and gusto. Through the many anecdotes about Pakistani family life, she hints at the larger tale of a divided nation. Spanning the subcontinent from the Muslim invasions to the Partition, this is a magical novel about the shapes stories can take- turning into myths, appearing in history books and entering into our lives.
Blackwell North Amer
The Dard-e-Dils are characterised by their clavicles and love of stories. Aliya may not have inherited her family's patrician looks, but she is as much a prey to the legends of her family that stretch back to the days of Timur Lang. Aristocratic and eccentric - the clan has plenty of stories to tell, and secrets to hide.
But there is a sting to most tales, for the Dard-e-Dils are cursed by their 'not-quite' twins. Aliya begins to believe that she is another 'not-quite twin' cosmically connected with her aunt Mariam and in a way that hardly bodes well.
'Mariam Apa' mysteriously arrives the day Aliya is born, claiming that she is the daughter of the long lost Taimur - a great uncle of Aliya's. She offers no proof except the characteristic collarbone but is warmly embraced into the family fold. Mariam utters not a single word except to dictate the daily menu to Masood the family cook. Under her direction, Masood's masterful cooking becomes ambrosial. The stories that Aliya tells are full of the aroma of pulaos, and the mouth-melting softness of kababs. Food and love collide and soon scandal erupts in the family.
Mariam's story becomes especially relevant for Aliya when she falls in love with Khaleel - a boy from an unsuitable background. Determined to solve the mystery of Mariam, and resolve her dilemma, Aliya sets out to discover what the meaning of the family curse truly is.