‘A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…‘
– No Honour
[ About the Book ]
In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.
[ My Review ]
No Honour by Awais Khan publishes today, August 19th 2021, with Orenda Books, in paperback original format. Having been released, to great acclaim, in digital format June 19th 2021, it is described as a story that moves ‘ from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore….a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.‘
Sarah Pearse, author of The Sanatorium said that No Honour is ‘beautifully written and immersive… starts with a powerful opening that propels you into the shocking themes. A must-read’
I picked up my copy of No Honour last week while on holidays in West Cork. One minute I was surrounded by the peace and tranquillity of the Beara Peninsula, in the most magical setting imaginable and the next I was transported to a small rural village in Pakistan where the most heinous act was being described. A young mother, in the immediate aftermath of birth, is terrorised in the most brutal fashion and her baby disappeared. Why? Because she was unmarried and the shame on her family meant no future for either her or her child. The perceived honour code must be upheld and it is her brother who enacts the brutal death sentence as the villagers watch on. This is the prologue. This is shocking. Fiction? Perhaps. Based on fact? Perhaps.
We are all holding our breaths at the moment as the terror unfolds on our screens. We listen to the horror and the fear. We hear the stories from twenty-years ago and we pray, we pray for those people and their families, we pray for the futures of all those women, both young and old, and we pray for the little girls who may never know what it is to have freedom.
No Honour opens with an extremely powerful chapter and then we are introduced to Abida, a young girl of sixteen and in love. But love for Abida is a very fragile thing and is something that is beyond the expectation and hope of most young girls in her village. Having a choice is not an option, but Abida refuses to be dominated by the men of her village and when the unthinkable happens, Abida turns to her father, Jamil, a man so very different to the others in their rural community. Abida faces charges of dishonouring her family, her neighbours and all who live in her village but Jamil risks everything in the hope of giving his daughter the future she would never have if she remained. Abida runs for Lahore. Hiding among the throngs of the city provides a cloak of invisibility for Abida but, this cloak also makes it impossible for Jamil to find her when he goes in search. Abida has disappeared.
As Abida’s fate is slowly revealed, the reader is taken on an extraordinary journey into the cracks of the walls of Lahore. The smell of fear pervades. The daily horrors evident, as Jamil begins a dangerous and treacherous journey in search of his beloved daughter. My heart was broken many times over reading No Honour. Very strong and frightening visuals remained in my mind, as I made comparisons between my life and that of young girls like Abida. Littered throughout with shocking scenes, No Honour is a seriously disturbing yet very compelling read. Awais Khan paints an incredible picture of this city that he obviously knows so well.
Extremely thought-provoking, No Honour is an intense and important read, one that will shock, disturb and enrage every reader. It is quite a book and is one I highly recommend to all.
[ 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.
Twitter ~ @AwaisKhanAuthor