Pinjar is one of the most harrowingly feminine tales of the Partition era, and woefully one of the least well-known. This short novella details the life of a Hindu girl turned Muslim through forced marriage, and the trials and tribulations that occur in her life as the land around her divides by religion. Whether it is the crazy woman who haunts the village while running around naked, or the obsessive wanna-be-husband Rashid who loves a little girl beyond control, Pritam does not purport to draw characters with subtly, or with much emotional range, but webbed through the misfortunes of their circumstances, life-like, they become. I believed after reading this book that I lived in a small rural village in Punjab, where the dust soaked up to my neck, and people lived the most meager of lives in the most external of huts. There was such a jolt to the language that I simply could not stop reading no matter how much I wanted to. I am certain that I would re-read this book in the future. The complexity of the relation of Hamida and Rashid has many nuances that can be gleamed from a second look, and I learnt that the simplest of dialogue, the starkest of image and the most subtle use of symbols can make a book stand out.

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