Taseer, Aatish

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The Way Things Were

Taseer, the son of an assassinated Muslim Pakistani politician and a Sikh Indian journalist, is undoubtedly a formidable storyteller (Temple-Goers; Noon), yet his constant, digressive displays of erudition—from Marcel Proust's Swann and Joseph Conrad's Kurtz to neglected vocabulary such as fissiparous and pleonastically—prove more distracting than enhancing. The result is an unnecessarily sprawling, nearly 600-page epic that should have been stunning. For more satisfying examples of what Things could have been, try Amitav Ghosh's "Ibis Trilogy," Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance, and M.G. Vassanji's The Assassin's Song.

Stranger to History: A Son’s Journey Through Islamic Lands

This well-constructed travel memoir offers subtle political insight, well-drawn characters, lush detail, and poignant personal narrative. A welcome blend of journalism, travel writing, and memoir; strongly recommended.


Highly recommended for its sharp depictions of life in modern India and Pakistan.

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