A Palmful of Sky captures the complexities of Pakistani culture. It paints its rich innocence as well as the powerful societal expectations for marriage, relationships and romance in a light-hearted but gripping tale of a young woman coming of age and breaking molds.
Maya Badruddin’s life is complicated enough – her parents’ separation, her stepmother, her college crush Arhaan who has friend-zoned her, and a dead-end job. Then her cousin, Jazib, shows up to remind her of their childhood engagement. The constant family pressure and promises of an inheritance see Jazib pestering Maya to honour their engagement… his mind soon changes upon meeting Ranya, Maya’s stepmother’s American-born sister who is visiting Pakistan for the first time in fifteen years. Maya and Jazib decide to officially terminate their engagement and take a trip to their farmland estate with Ranya to talk to the elders things come to a head. The events will shape all their futures.
A Palmful of Sky speaks to the timelessness of finding your own path while honouring tradition and society.
Humeira Ajaz is a freelance blogger and novelist. She is the author of Love Me Do, has translated a children’s book from Urdu into English – Playful Game of the Tiny Water Droplets – and has co-authored an epic fantasy trilogy, Aoife & Demon. Book 1 of the series was voted as the best read by Summer Indie Book Awards in 2014. She has blogged for many publications including The Huffington Post, Muslim Girl, The Nation (Pakistan) and Dawn (Pakistan). She lives in Germantown, TN with her husband, four children and their cat.
NetGalley review (Guest Review) - 20 Sep, 2021
Being an Asian, quite a few of the issues depicted in this book resonates well with me and it feels good that the author is embracing these cultural aspects and traditions as part of being brown, Asian & Muslim, instead of trying to sugar coat things or like many Asian literature these days, bashing the cultures, especially those that revolves around the true Islamic values as being untoward, impractical and downright messy. What the protagonist, Maya has shown is that you could be proud of your heritage while at the same time, reaching the same standards as the women from the West.
All of the characters are likeable, I especially love the relationship that Maya has with Jazib, who in my opinion is being given the most limelight in this book (I'd almost fall for him being the male protagonist when in truth, it was Arhaan) Upon finishing the book, I realised that I didn't know much about Maya, not as well as I know Jazib. The author could've spend more time building her character. There was also one or two scenes in the book that I find inappropriate, like how the characters despite being openly Muslim, performed indecent acts. Other than that, everything else about the book was seamless! And oh, being an ardent fan of pakistani dramas, I love how the author potrayed Pakistan so well, with its ethereal beauty (the havelis, the sugarcane farms, the traditional clothes, urdu language, etc).
Original review: https://www.netgalley.co.uk/book/231980/review/352094