Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Beneath My Mother's Feet
Qamar, Amjed. 2008. Beneath My Mother's Feet. Simon & Schuster. 198 pages
The musky scent of mustard oil intensified in the early August heat.
Set in Pakistan, Beneath My Mother's Feet is the novel of the ever-dutiful daughter, Nazia, as her family's troubles push her towards making a difficult, life-changing decision. When her father is injured on the job, Nazia's life changes. After several weeks of her father not working, Nazia and her mother are 'forced' to seek work--work cleaning houses, a job with no respect, shameful at its very core. Nazia is angry that her father is allowing this to happen. That he's allowing her mother to pull her out of school so she can work as a maid in three or four households. The fact that her older brother conveniently disappeared so he wouldn't have to bring home money to support the family, only adds to everyone's frustration. The world we see in the novel is one where women work--slave over their work even--to provide for the lazy men in their lives. It's an unpleasant world, one where happiness isn't even considered possible in marriage. Men mean one thing T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Nazia is disappointed again and again by the men in her life--her father, her brother, her uncle. Could she be making the realization that the only person she can rely on is herself? What does Nazia want out of her life? And what is she willing to do to get what she wants? Will she go for her dreams even if it means disobeying her parents? Disappointing them?
You may read the first chapter online.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews