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The Return of Faraz Ali

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781529356038

Price: £9.99

ON SALE: 2nd February 2023

Genre: Fiction & Related Items

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‘A gripping read – everything beautifully evoked, from the alleys of the Old City to the atmosphere of corruption and secrets.’ Kamila Shamsie

A spellbinding debut set in Pakistan during the political upheavals of the late ’60s – a propulsive tale of family, secrets and survival in a caste-ridden, patriarchal society.

For the first time since childhood, Faraz Ali returns to Lahore’s ancient walled city and its red-light district – the home he was plucked from by his father to give him the chance of a respectable life. Now a police officer, he’s been tasked with covering up the murder of a child prostitute: a crime in which his father, a powerful political figure, may well be implicated. But for the first time in his career, Faraz disobeys orders.

Appalled by the crime and seized by the idea he might find the mother and sister he last saw as a small boy, he cannot stop chasing down the city’s labyrinthine alleys and asking questions that risk shattering his precariously constructed existence. He is unaware that his sister Rozina has also been drawn back to the old city, who escaped her life as a courtesan when young but whose situation has turned equally precarious.

As riveting as it is thought-provoking, as profoundly intimate as it is wide in scope, The Return of Faraz Ali poses a timeless question: whom do we choose to protect, and at what price?

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A gripping read - everything beautifully evoked, from the alleys of the Old City to the atmosphere of corruption and secrets.
Kamila Shamsie
Aamina Ahmad has done the impossible: made her literary debut with an enduring classic. Essential and compelling.
Adam Johnson
A rich and deeply moving novel about confronting histories both personal and political . . . Marvellous.
Yaa Gyasi
In The Return of Faraz Ali, Aamina Ahmad moves across borders and through decades to create a mesmerizing portrayal of crimes and coverups in the walled-off world of Lahore's red-light district. That a novel so epic in scope can remain so intimate at heart is nothing short of astonishing.
Anthony Marra
The Return of Faraz Ali heralds the arrival of a strikingly accomplished and mature talent. Aamina Ahmad has managed to meld fast-paced, intelligent noir with a devastating portrait of the true costs of ambition and desire. A gripping read that does not let you go, even after the end.
Maaza Mengiste
This novel has everything a reader could ask for: a sizzling, noirlike plot; political intrigue juxtaposed with a rich intergenerational family saga; capacious, conflicted characters, including women who may be marginalized by society but are masters of their own narratives; and sublime sentences. A debut novelist, Ahmad manages this complexity seamlessly. A feat of storytelling not to be missed.
A layered, fascinating portrait of a fractured family and of Pakistan. An impressive, gripping debut.
Antonia Senior, The Times
Stunning, not only on account of the author's talent, of which there is clearly plenty, but also in its humanity, in how a book this unflinching in its depiction of class and institutional injustice can still feel so tender . . . The fullness of the characters and their intersecting lives make this far more than a murder mystery . . . Ahmad's compassion, her deep care for the psychological and emotional nuances of her characters, never wavers . . . It extends through generations and transformations of place, all the way to a devastating final chapter, fully human, fully engaged with what makes us human.
Omar El Akkad, New York Times Book Review
A stunning debut novel - a noir-inspired thriller that weaves in politics, family ties, corruption and murder, while also being sharp about different kinds of power, particularly as it relates to women.
Kamila Shamsie, Best Summer Books, Observer