Just finished reading Andy's Kite Strings and have to say it was the best 175 Rupees I have spent in some time.
All the characters - Mehnaz’s Abbu and Ammi, Rehana, Aasia, Imtiaz, Zohra, Mrs. Dahlia, and my personal favorite, Fauzia, were etched out so well (from Mehnaz’s perspective) that I felt like they are people I know.
Mehnaz, especially, is a very interesting character, because she is not black or white – she is kinda grey, which makes her more life-like than many other characters that we come across in books. It also makes us care for her in ways that we wouldn’t for some others.
For me, it was also a window to this fascinating world so different from mine, culturally. The community and their customs, beliefs, etc, were quite alien to me. But that’s where the alienism ends – for everything else I can relate to. I guess any Indian girl can relate to.
The feeling that you want ‘to do something’. The uncertainty about life and what it holds. The feeling of being a kite with the string in another’s hands. The feeling of never living up to your mother’s standards :)
What I really liked about Andaleeb’s writing was the flow and the simple honesty. You know she is a writer who doesn’t hold back – she brings it all out and arranges it on the page with an easy grace.
I thought the ending was beautiful. Open, with so many possibilities. Just like the terrace Mehnaz likes to frequent :)
Kudos to you, Andy, for such a commendable debut – here’s to many more yarns in the years to come!