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Pakistani writer Ali Sethi's The Wish Maker debuts

Aug 03, 2009 03:17 AM IST Books Books

New Delhi: The Wish Maker is one of the latest books to hit the stands and Ali Sethi is the author who makes an international debut. The book is a drama incorporating the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto days, weaving through Benazir Bhutto's era and to the General Pervez Musharraf reign. It is a powerful statement when one of the characters concludes, "Nothing has changed."

"When you are writing about Pakistan, you cannot but write about politics or what is happening in the street across your house, People have acute political consciousness in Pakistan. I think much of that is a result of living under successive military dictatorships," Sethi says.

In The Wish Maker, Sethi writes about love, longing and belonging in modern day Pakistan. Without a doubt, readers of a certain age and beyond will feel the warmth fuzzy glow of nostalgia with talks of mixed states, of first love and heartbreak.

AUTHOR SPEAK: Pakistani author Ali Sethi speaks of inspirations behind the book.

Some parts in the middle flood you with too much background on characters in the novel. But that is actually a powerful cumulative effect as you take an almost fly-on-the-wall look as the story unfolds. The narrative almost sucks you into the lives of the Pakistani characters, especially of young, fatherless Zaki whose story of struggle this book is.

There is also a search for identity. "I went to America the year after 9/11. I had to ask myself questions like what does it mean to be Pakistani? What is the nature of the Pakistani state? What is Pakistani society made up of? What happened at partition? These were questions that we did not really address when I was growing up in Pakistan, reading Pakistani textbooks," said Ali Sethi.