The Upstairs Wife : An Intimate History of Pakistan (English)
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Author: Rafia Zakaria
On December 27, 2007, Rafia Zakaria's Uncle Sohail nearly died of a stroke. On that same night, Benazir Bhutto, the only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Pakistan, was assassinated. For one brief, singular moment, the catastrophes of Rafia's family and her country had become entwined and she found she couldn't fully celebrate Sohail's survival or mourn Bhutto's death. The mixed emotions she felt lead her on an exploration of her family's and her country's troubled past. Rafia's family emigrated to Pakistan from Bombay in 1962, feeling the situation for Muslims in India was precarious and that Pakistan represented enormous promise. And for some time it did.Her family prospered and the city prospered. But when her Uncle Sohail took a second wife without her Aunt Amina's permission, her family was shamed and shaken. Telling the parallel stories of her aunt's and Pakistan's hopes and betrayals, The Upstairs Wife is an intimate look at the effects on ordinary families of Pakistan's growing conservatism and violence. As Zakaria expertly weaves history and memoir, she reveals the personal costs, from constricted lives to violent deaths, behind increasingly restrictive religious edicts and cultural conventions.