Author: Azhar Abidi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780670082742
In Karachi, Bilqis Ara Begum, proud custodian of her family's traditions, prepares for the wedding reception of her son Samad. The family has gathered, the servants have been given their instructions, the invitations sent to Pakistan's upper crust. But Bilqis is restless-this is not what she had planned for her only son: Kate, whom Samad has recently married, is Australian and middle class.
While Bilqis struggles to reassure herself of her son's commitment to the family, their customs and, most of all, to herself, Pakistan is facing turmoil. Having fortified his dictatorship through a sham referendum, General Zia is now set on imposing orthodox Muslim law on the country, and news from the border is of an imminent insurgency in Kashmir.
Yet, against the threats to the liberal space she has always accepted as her privilege, Bilqis stands firm-drawing strength from the values of her aristocratic parents and memories of her carefree childhood in undivided India-and refuses, with characteristic obstinacy, to join Samad in Australia.
Then she stumbles upon her servant girl Mumtaz's secret affair with a Kashmiri freedom fighter-a reckless tryst that threatens to destroy the girl's honour but for which she claims to have no regrets-and Bilqis is left to examine the convictions that have so long determined her life and her faith in those around her.
Twilight confirms Azhar Abidi's stunning talent for nuanced storytelling and vivid, evocative prose. It is a captivating novel about love and loyalty, exile and conflict, and ultimately about the inherent comforts and trials of the mother-son bond.
‘A skillfully crafted tale of Mohajir disenchantment in Zia’s regime. A soulfully rendered evensong of a dream turned sours…’
‘Twilight is notable for the grave eloquence of its prose…for its sense of the burden of human indebtedness…If the novel beings with a nod to Seth, it ends with an epiphany almost in the manner of Tolstoy’
‘Azhar Abidi’s first novel, Passarola Rissing, told of some amazing adventures in a seventeenth-century flying ship, and it was a delight. His new novel could hardly be more different, yet it gives just as mush pleasure… Abidi’s forte lies in his insights into the minds of individuals…the moral strength and emotional climax of the book peaks in Abidi’s meticulous account of each individual’s attempt to match self-will against necessity’
-Australian Book Review