Review: Jamil Ahmad’s “The Wandering Falcon”

by writereaderly

jamil ahmad wandering falconThe publishers at Penguin USA must have nearly wet themselves when they came across this manuscript: a well-written, cultural exploration of the tribal lands between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as told in the first book by an 81-year-old Pakistani former international aid worker. What a gift! Well done Penguin and Jamil Ahmad, for it is a good book and I’m most glad I read it. A set of interlinked short stories, united by the enigmatic Wandering Falcon himself, the book provides cultural snapshots of various among the tribal communities in the most contentious part of Central Asia. (Time to revise my definition of “tribe”: one in the book is stated as having over one million members.) The Falcon’s connections are sometimes a little tenuous, but I enjoyed the insight into cultures utterly unknown to me. Recommended.

Where it came from: CP’s Bookshelf
Time and manner of reading:
Armchair thoroughness and library waiting
Where it went: Home
Reminds me of/that: Great personal backstory + political relevance + good art = publisher’s coup
Who I’d recommend it to:
Culturally curious readers
Also reading: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon; Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; The Politics of Ecstasy by Timothy Leary; Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier