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Unmarriageable

de Soniah Kamal

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3034365,418 (3.87)44
"In this retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry--until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider. A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won't make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more. When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible--and rich--bachelors, certain that their luck is about to change. On the first night of the festivities, Alys's lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors. But his friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her, and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. But as the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal--and Alys begins to realize that Darsee's brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance"--… (més)
  1. 00
    Ayesha At Last de Uzma Jalaluddin (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both books are inspired by Austen's Pride & Prejudice and are set in Muslim communities.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 44 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"

74/2021. I read Unmarriageable, by Soniah Kamal, which is a novel retelling Pride and Prejudice but set in contemporary Pakistan. Most attempted Pride and Prejudice retellings are pale imitations because they substitute Jane Austen's comedy of manners about life in society, that happens to have a central romance plot (or three), for a "romance" novel which is about one romantic relationship. Unmarriageable however is faithful to Austen's range as a comedy of manners about life in society, that happens to have a central romance plot (or three). It thoroughly retells the complex of characters, plots, and subplots, from the original but wholly translated to contemporary Pakistan. I especially enjoyed how true the characters are to Austen's portrayals, with the minor exception of Annie dey Bagh (Anne de Bourgh) who I'm glad to say was allowed a few lines of her own in this new work.

Unmarriageable also adds English and Pakistani and Indian literary intertextuality beyond the framework of Pride and Prejudice. My favourite is a fleeting moment when the protagonist Alys accidentally meets Darsee while he's escorting tourists named Thomas Fowle, Harris Bigg-Wither, and Soniah (no last name) who is Harris Bigg-Wither's girlfriend. Although a reader wouldn't need to be interested in this meta layer to enjoy the main family saga.

By the end of the first short chapter Kamal had reused the famous opening line from Pride and Prejudice, rewritten it in the context of Pakistani society, and subverted that rewriting, made an actually amusing Miss Havisham reference, made a truly funny Romeo and Juliet reference, introduced her protagonist and milieu, and made me laugh several times (although more of the book's humour is amusing social satire than laugh aloud comedy).

4.5*

Quotes (too many choices!)

Lol: "She gazed at the bulletin boards plastering the walls and boasting photos where Naheed beamed with Dilipabad's VIPs. They were thumbtacked in place to allow easy removal if a VIP fell from financial grace or got involved in a particularly egregious scandal."

Cemetery: "A row of ashoka trees, vibrant and healthy, created a man-planted border, their roots feeding from blood and bones on both sides, and Alys slipped through the trunks and into, it seemed, another cemetery. Dirt paths wound through overgrown vegetation and eroded marble headstones with British names in faded lettering. She walked on, scared now that she was so deep inside the graveyard. Moonlight spread down her back like ice. All was quiet except for crickets and her footsteps, crunching twigs. She saw a form leaning against a wall, an unnatural fiery glow emanating from where a mouth should be.
Alys screamed. The form screamed.
A girl stepped out of the shadows, a lit cigarette dangling from bony fingers, a scrawny braid curling down one shoulder to her waist. She was wearing red sandals and a purple-and-green shalwar kurta topped with a red cardigan with white plastic buttons."

The only major fault was the fake history in the notes at the back: "Lord Macaulay's Address to the British Parliament on 2nd February 1835" is a well-known fake that's been around since at least 2002 (sometimes supposedly about India and sometimes supposedly about Africa). Parliament was closed and Macaulay was in India where what he actually said was this: https://perma.cc/F3G9-TXB8 (which you don't need to read). To quote Abraham Lincoln, "Don’t believe everything you read on the internet." ( )
  spiralsheep | May 6, 2021 |
An engaging and fresh adaptation of Janw Austen's classic. It reimagines the story in exciting ways while keeping the excitement alive. I recommend this book! ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
I will say this right up front -I have never read Pride and Prejudice---I know, I know, bad Dianne! But that means that I had nothing to compare this book to. Because of that, I feel like I read it with fresh eyes and no expectations. So I had nothing to complain about, at least literarily!

I loved this book -I could see what was going on as far as P&P since I have at least heard about it but again-no expectations. Just a fun romance set in Pakistan; where the modern life of women is very much like the lives of women in the early 1800's.

This was a fun read with plenty of good old modern back-stabbing, scandal, love gone bad, unrequited love, and pure bitchiness!

Each sister unique in her own way -some good some horrid but most make out well in the end,

I would love to read another book based on the last two sisters that didn't get married and Lady who I bet won't stay married!

Great read and although it may not be perfect as far as some aspects go (I have read the negative reviews) I am glad I used my precious book reading time on this one! ( )
  Cats57 | Oct 22, 2020 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan... I've long felt that the only way to pull off a beat-for-beat Pride & Prejudice update is to set it in a place where marrying above your station can make a meaningful difference in a woman's life. Setting it in Pakistan in the year 2000 is *chef's kiss*. You get the mother-obsessed-with-marriage without it being weird and out of place. Billionaire boyfriend books aside, the relationship between Alysba and Darsee reads like a real Pride & Prejudice set in "modern" times. Loved how the story was updated and all the references to books scattered throughout (I already ordered a copy of Sunlight on a Broken Column by Attia Hossain).

One random aside, there are some jarring head-hopping scenes where the narrative shifts from the speaker to an omniscient narrator that tells you a different character's thoughts or backstory. I'm not sure if this is a call-back to Austen, or a writerly conceit, but it threw me out of the story a few times. ( )
  emperatrix | Aug 30, 2020 |
Soniah Kamal’s Unmarriageable is an warm story about sisterhood and friendship, as well as a love letter to Pride and Prejudice. The five Binat sisters live in Dilipabad, a small Pakistani town just across the Indian border from Amritsar (the setting of the Bollywood spinoff Bride and Prejudice. Is that not how everyone learns geography?). A family estrangement has left their branch struggling, unable to live as they used to, so the older girls teach English, while Mrs. Binat schemes about beautification to catch wealthy husbands. Teenage Lady flirts with everyone, Mari is a pedantic Quran reader, and youngest sister Qitty is chubby and forgotten. This has everything we love in P&P, with a distinctly Pakistani style.

Jena and Alys are both over 30, a successful updating of the Bennet sisters’ impoverished gentry background, especially since handsome Bungles is only 25. This is exactly what Bingley sisters and gossipy aunties will turn into a massive mismatch and social disaster, when it’s really a tiny obstacle for a loving marriage. The Binat sisters are English teachers at the local girls’ school, which is respectable if not impressive employment, even if Alys keeps getting scolded for running her mouth in class and leading her students to question their roles as wives-to-be.

Alys and her friends have discussions about literature in translation and colonialism. (So yes, I immediately requested all the books that Alys buys in Lahore from my library. Naturally.) There are also some comments on the joys of rereading Pride and Prejudice, which make this feel like a real love letter to Jane Austen, and Unmarriageable characters discuss their favorite Austen characters and Jane’s view of marriage. I particularly enjoyed when Annie, a chronically ill former model with a secret Nigerian boyfriend, talks about how mild and silent Anne de Burgh is. But, if you’ve read P&P, though, how do you trust a Jeorgeullah Wickaam? Alys, don’t be distracted by a handsome face!

The question of marriage and finances is a central part of Austen’s work, but I’m not sure how well the impoverished-family works as a plot device or character background right now. Current American morality sees poverty as a temporary setback to be overcome with hard work, and also considers laziness is an unforgivable personality failing. So, a poor young woman is no longer an unfortunate victim of circumstance, but a lazy taker. BOOTSTRAPS, BENNETS! Ugh. I kind of hate everything right now, and I double hate that our miserable news cycle leaks into my fiction reading.

Sherry Looclus, Alys’ coworker and friend, is even older and even more worried about money than the Binat girls. (OH! And Sir Lucas becomes Haji Looclus, a clever reimagining which took me a while to get. I just figured Haji was his first name, I didn’t realize he’d claimed the title of a Muslim who’s completed the Mecca pilgrimage.) Although it’s easy to see Mr. Collins as a ridiculous figure, we can also see how happy Sherry is to get out of her parents’ house (to fly the pigeon coop, maybe?), to mother her lovely step-children, and to have enough money that she can quit the girls’ school and work on her own projects. Of course she doesn’t have a love match, and Kaleen is still no Darsee, but you can see a partnership here.

Unmarriageable was such a great story that I forced myself to slow down reading it. I loved the revisions of familiar characters in a new setting. This novel is full of Pakistani flavor, but it’s still quite accessible to anyone with a gossipy auntie or a handsome crush.

( )
  TheFictionAddiction | Aug 12, 2020 |
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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl can go from pauper to princess or princess to pauper in the mere seconds it takes for her to accept a proposal.
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An unmarried woman advocating pursuits outside the house might as well be a witch spreading anarchy and licentiousness.
"But, Miss," Tahira said hesitantly, "what's the purpose of life without children?"
"The same purpose as there would be with children—to be a good human being and contribute to society."
"I don't believe it's for everyone. Marriage should be a part of life and not life."
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good girl ought to keep her mouth shut about whether she's been keeping her legs shut."
Mrs. Binat glowed as moneyed folk flitted around.
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"In this retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry--until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider. A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won't make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more. When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible--and rich--bachelors, certain that their luck is about to change. On the first night of the festivities, Alys's lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors. But his friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her, and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. But as the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal--and Alys begins to realize that Darsee's brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance"--

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