Sunday, October 19, 2014

#94 : An Isolated Incident by Soniah Kamal : A Review

An Isolated Incident

BOOK TITLE: An Isolated Incident

ISBN: 9788172345327

AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal

GENRE: Fiction


FORMAT: Paperback


REVIEW BY: Shree Janani

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review Copy from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. We thank Fingerprint Publishing for the same.

SUMMARY: Zari Zoon, a vivacious girl from Kashmir, is looking forward to marrying her fiance when tragedy strikes. Next thing she know, she is on a plane to America to stay with distant relatives who have offered to give her a temporary home to help her stitch back the tatters of her life.

Billy Nabi, fiercely tender-hearted, longs to help Zari but the choices he makes will jeopardise them all.
An Isolated Incident is a story of haunting memories and yearnings of a home lost, of a faith continuously tested and questioned and of a love that blossoms against all odds


 I’ve always regretted not visiting Kashmir when I had the opportunity to do so. My dad resided in Jammu for quite some time and used to describe its endless beauty. He obviously left out the ugly injustice being served to this beautiful place. Since then, I’ve had this fascination with Jammu & Kashmir. Of course, I always knew that beneath the beauty lies a state marred by wars and ridden with unspeakable sorrow. Having never read a proper literature account associated with J&K, I was more than eager to read this book.

The story is a about a simple Kashmiri girl Zari who loses her family and undergoes a major trauma. She then relocates to USA under the ruse of pursing her education. Her life changes dramatically after Billy comes to her rescue. But then, Billy has his own share of emotional baggage in the form of a burdening past to handle. I can’t possibly elaborate more about the story for I would be depriving the reader of a life changing experience.

The narration is filled with raw emotions. It’s been long since a book affected me in such a way. Reading a tale of unspeakable and horrendous injustice experienced by a woman left me choking with unspeakable sorrow. Zari’s narration seemed so realistic that I truly wondered if this story wasn’t a figment of imagination.

I really wouldn’t believe that this writer is actually a rookie to Lit Business.  The narration, the plot and portrayal of emotions were almost perfect. If at all I had to find a flaw, it would be with Billy’s story line. I could connect with his feeling of  lost identity, but his decision to flee USA didn’t pack a punch for me as it normally should. This could be attributed to a slight slack in narration in that part of the story.

The characterization was perfect and all the characters had so many facets that at one point I wondered if they were actually modeled after real people.  Again, if I really had to find a negative with characterization, it would be with that of Zari’s. A trauma obviously changes a person’s character. I couldn’t understand much of Zari’s character before that “life altering” incident. 

The cover deserves a special mention. It clearly depicts the beauty of Kashmir but in shades of Brown, which obviously signifies the struggle and injustice. 

This book changed my perception of Kashmiris and made me understand why they would actually want a separate country.

The book also re-emphasized a lesson that my parents drilled in me. Love and compassion are the ultimate medicine to any trauma.

VERDICT: A must read for all who whine about the injustice of life. Definitely not for the faint hearted.

RATING: 4.9 on 5

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Soniah Kamal was born in Karachi and grew up in London-Jeddah-Lahore and resides in the US where she has called myriad States home. At present she lives in Georgia where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind, Flannery O’ Connor kept pet peacocks and Alice Walker set The Color Purple. Soniah has a BA in Philosophy from St. John’s College where she received the Susan B. Irene Award and is earning an MFA from Georgia State University where she is the 2014 Paul Bowles Fellow in Fiction. Soniah's work is published or forthcoming in the Rumpus, Huffington Post, xoJane, Bengal Lights, Sugar Mule, various anthologies and more. She enjoys long strolls around koi ponds, doodling forests of curlicues. She cannot resist the drumbeat of a dhol and her talisman is a globe in any shape of size. Her favorite activity is time traveling through books. Soniah has shared her life with a sandy dog, a silky cat, two ginuea pigs, one long haired and one short haired, frogs as big as thumbnails, and a multitude of budgies and betta fish red, blue, green and yellow.


PRICE: Rs.200 (Papeback)


Note : This review was first posted in Readers' Muse


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