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The Shawl of Midnight

The Shawl of Midnight

Author(s): Jacqueline St Joan

Location(s): Kashmir, Mumbai (Bombay), Pakistan

Genre(s): Fiction, Coming of Age

Era(s): 1996-2015

All the women in Nafeesa’s family have been imprisoned, assassinated, scarred or exiled. Yes, every single one. Is it any wonder, then, that the surviving men in her family have kept those disturbing facts from her? But now Nafeesa wants to know the truth. With the help of her beloved dying grandfather, Kulraj Singh, she receives clues to her past, and in return she pledges to bring his two daughters back to him before he dies. From Pakistan, Nafeesa travels, first to Mumbai–where she meets her lesbian activist Aunt Faisah and Faisah’s partner Lia–and then to Kashmir. She’s on a journey to adulthood–to learn who she is, who her people are and what she is made of. In the company of her heroic auntie, she travels the foothills of the Himalayas through a war zone, under a deadline, through snow lion country, only to question if this Baji Ulaja is truly so heroic after all. The Shawl of Midnight explores the depths of family relationships, how people change over time and distance, how we might discover through our own pressures and actions what we are made of, and where home truly is.

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