The U.S. literary debut of an up-and-coming Pakistani novelist and journalist.
The last three months of Benazir Bhutto’s life -- from her arrival back in Pakistan on October 18, 2007, to her untimely death in a shooting-cum-suicide bombing on December 27th-- is told through the eyes of a young television journalist in Bina Shah’s intense confessional novel A Season for Martyrs.
The estranged son of a wealthy landowner from the interior region of Sindh, Ali Sikandar, is assigned by his producer to cover the arrival of Benazir Bhutto, the opposition leader who has returned home to Karachi after eight years of exile to take part in the presidential race. But Ali finds himself swept up in events larger than his individual struggle for identity and love when he joins the People’s Resistance Movement, a civil group that opposes the current government of President Musharraf, the benevolent dictator turned strongman. Amidst deadly terrorist attacks, protest marches and rallies in favor of and against Bhutto, this contemporary narrative thread weaves in flashbacks that chronicle the history of Ali’s own feudal family and its connection to the Bhutto family.
As Shah illustrates with extraordinary depth the many contradictions of a country that still struggles to fully embrace modernity, Ali’s life opens in a new direction and the young man rediscovers love, the desire to fight and the power to forgive his father.
“Listen to the voice of Bina Shah- you will hear a young, confident, compassionate new Pakistan. Her latest novel not only sparkles with wit and wisdom but is a deeply moving paean to the power of love for the author's Pakistani culture and people.”