“I could not turn back time, I could not give life. All I wanted was to learn what had happened to the Malik sisters.”
Sarvat Hasin’s debut novel is about four sisters, Maria, Ayesha, Leila and Beena living in relative freedom in 1970s Karachi. Their father Captain Malik is usually away and the sisters are warily watched over by an unconventional mother.
The women forge the rules of their own universe, taking in a few men: Amir, the professor who falls in love with Maria and Jamal or Jimmy, the neighbor who tells this tale. The curious young man is drawn in by all four sisters and particularly by rebellious Ayesha. But slowly, it becomes clear he will never completely penetrate their circle—just as they will never completely move with the tide that swirls so potently around them.
In the quietly seething world of This Wide Night, the story moves from Karachi to London and finally to the rain-drenched island of Manora. It is a compelling novel from the subcontinent—and a powerful debut to watch.
“An evocative and gripping depiction of women, alone and together in an essentially patriarchal world. A seductive siren song which will remain with you long after you have read it.” – Namita Gokhale
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