A young Pakistani woman is the victim of an unthinkable act of vengeance, when she defies convention for love, facing seemingly insurmountable challenges and danger as she attempts to rebuild her life. – Someone Like Her
[ About Someone Like Her ]
Multan, Pakistan. A conservative city where an unmarried woman over the age of twenty-five is considered a curse by her family.
Ayesha is twenty-seven. Independent and happily single, she has evaded an arranged marriage because of her family’s reduced circumstances. When she catches the eye of powerful, wealthy Raza, it seems like the answer to her parents’ prayers. But Ayesha is in love with someone else, and when she refuses to give up on him, Raza resorts to unthinkable revenge…
Ayesha travels to London to rebuild her life and there she meets Kamil, an emotionally damaged man who has demons of his own. They embark on a friendship that could mean salvation for both of them, but danger stalks Ayesha in London, too. With her life thrown into turmoil, she is forced to make a decision that could change her and everyone she loves forever.
[ My Review ]
Someone Like Her by Awais Khan was published August 17th 2023 with Orenda Books. It is described as ‘exquisitely written, populated by unforgettable characters and rich with poignant, powerful themes…a story of love and family, of corruption and calamity, of courage and hope … and one woman’s determination to thwart convention and find peace, at whatever cost…’
Someone Like Her is the story of Ayesha, a twenty-seven year old young woman following her own path. Ayesha gives little attention to the traditions of old and considers love central to every marriage. Her parents are frustrated with her but also respect her choices, up to a point. Ayesha is in love but her chosen partner doesn’t carry the status of an expected suitor for someone of her position. Ayesha’s family was once an esteemed family of Multan and her father garnered respect from many quarters. But now, after financial ruin, her father lives in hope that Ayesha will marry someone with stature and wealth.
Ayesha works for a local charity and every day she sees women who have suffered from the torment and pain of an abusive relationship. Ayesha is adamant that her future will not take a similar path. The charity is very dependent on wealthy donors, so when Raza Masood, the son of an extremely powerful local family, offers a donation, Ayesha is unaware that he has eyes on her. Ayesha initially panders a small bit to his requests, a coffee here, answering a phone call on occasion, but she was completely unexpecting the arrogance of the chase. Raza is determined to woo Ayesha but how far is he prepared to go?
Ayesha finds herself in London, after events take a rather sinister and dramatic turn. She lives with a family known to her parents. Kamil, their son, has his own demons but over time an easy relationship builds up between them as they bond over the simpler things in life. They both search out peace of mind, acceptance and friendship and something blossoms between them.
Someone Like Her provides a disturbing, yet also compelling, insight into a culture and a part of the world that I am not familiar with, with Ayesha’s experiences depicted very vividly. The dialogue does at times feel very stilted and formal but I’m wondering if this is more of a cultural thing? The challenges faced by women are considerable and oft-times dangerous. Family expectations and society’s opinions can seem smothering to some, like myself, who are not used to the practices in Pakistani society. Awais Khan is from Lahore in Pakistan so his personal insights add great authenticity to this tale. At times distressing, but also hopeful, Someone Like Her doesn’t steer away from the violence inflicted on women but it is handled with tact and empathy.
Someone Like Her is an affecting story that will elicit a strong reaction from most readers. It is extremely eye-opening and thought-provoking, highlighting the struggles faced by women in many countries across the globe.
[ Bio ]
Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University. He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He is currently working on his third book. When not working, he has his nose buried in a book. He lives in Lahore.