The Official Synopsis:
‘God was everywhere, but so was the general.’
It is the summer of 1977 and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat. Weeks after her eleventh birthday, Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been a coup d’état, General Zia has taken over the country and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is in jail. Although the shadow of the general and his increasingly puritanical edicts threaten to disrupt their comfortable existence, life goes on for Aliya much as before as she attends the American School in Islamabad. However, when a much loved young boy, the son of the family retainer, dies tragically in a hit-and-run accident, her world is turned upside down, especially when she discovers the terrible secret of the murderer’s identity.
City of Spies is coming-of-age story that explores Aliya’s conflicting loyalties and her on-going struggle to make sense of her world. Set in late 1970’s Islamabad and Lahore, City of Spies is a gripping novel that unfolds over thirty months in Pakistan’s tumultuous history.
My Two Cents:
To me the book is a disaster!
There is absolutely no flow and the book feels like a 5 year olds narration of their life. It has huge connectivity problems and there is no clear sense of story or direction.
It talks about a very vibrant era of the Pakistani history but it doesnt make an impact at all.
The character development is quite realistic and good. The whole cultural awareness and identity struggle adds a nice dimension to the story.
The small details are well described and the book offers a perspective into the life of a relatively affluent family living in the formative years of the new Capital, Islamabad.
For those who crave regional books it might be a good read, but it can never be the adequate representation of the society.
Link to Goodreads: City of Spies