Eight-year-old Lenny is crippled by polio but inquisitive and spirited. She spends her days in the park with her beloved Ayah, surrounded by a plethora of other park-goers: there’s the Sikh zoo-keeper, the Pathan, strong Imman Din, and Ice-Candy Man, peddling popsicles and political unrest.
But as British rule in India draws to a close, whispers of Partition reach the affluent fringes of Lahore. Sectarian violence soon escalates and riots break out amongst the city’s once harmonious people. Amidst the chaos, Lenny’s Ayah is abducted and her idyll shatters. Her innocence, exuberant humour, and heart-wrenching insight lead us through these momentous events, revealing the fragile unity of a nation as it teeters on the cusp of historic change.
‘Bapsi Sidhwa’s voice, comic, serious, subtle, always sprightly, is an important one to hear. I’m delighted to see her terrific novels back in print.’ – Salman Rushdie
‘A ground-breaking writer, whose works have lost none of their freshness, humour or heart.’ – Kamila Shamsie
‘Heartbreak coexists with slapstick and jokes give way to lines of glowing beauty. Confirms Sidhwa’s reputation as Pakistan’s finest
English language novelist.’ – New York Times Book Review
‘Compulsively readable.’ – Observer
‘A fluent, fast moving narrative of wit and wisdom.’ – Irish Times