A young woman defies convention in a small Pakistani village, with devastating results for her and her family. A stunning, immense beautiful novel about courage, family and the meaning of love, when everything seems lost…
In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.
When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore and then disappears.
Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.
Moving from the depths of rural Pakistan, riddled with poverty and religious fervour, to the dangerous streets of over-populated Lahore, No Honour is a story of family, of the indomitable spirit of love in its many forms … a story of courage and resilience, when all seems lost, and the inextinguishable fire that lights one young woman’s battle for change.
Orenda Books over and over publishes novels that are beautifully written, challenging and captivating. No Honour by Awais Khan is another such book!
It has grand and mesmerizing themes about the things that make us human love, family and bravery, yet it also explores human characteristics that are dark and threatening, misogyny, cruelty, poverty and violence. Complex themes to bring together successfully in any story and a balancing act to ensure they align perfectly to create a narrative that challenges the reader, yet doesn’t overwhelm them. Awais Khan in this his second novel, creates the perfect storm, by taking all these powerful themes and creating a novel of startling honesty, breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking pain.
Sixteen-year-old Abida chooses love, in doing so she finds herself threatened by age old customs that are shaped in a deep rooted culture of contempt for women, ingrained prejudice and systematic violence. Only her father, who recognizes her spirit, who loves her, allows her to escape from the village. What follows for them both is a journey to Lahore, where the threats Abida was running from, become ever more complex and terrifying. From this, you would be imaging a story of never ending misery, but this is a far more nuanced piece of literature. Abida is brave and resilient, but for every threat she faces from those that seek to abuse her, the writer shows us that not all men are her enemy. He creates a picture in words of a society and culture that is not one dimensional, because her indomitable spirit, is matched by the devotion and friendship of the men that love her the most and often it is other women, that seek to exploit and control her. It gives the story a sense of hope and though, he never hides the violence Abida faces, neither does he seek to lesson the central tenant of his story, love and it’s remarkable power to redeem us all. He delves down into the dark heart of the city of Lahore, then shines a light on individuals willing to risk everything to bring change for the better.
He fills his story with stunningly wrought characters that bring the story to life. Abida has a spirit that yearns for the freedom to choose, longs for change, to be free of claustrophobic village life, no matter the consequences. Her father frets over her choices, but inspired by a strong woman in his life, chooses change, despite all that it will cost him. There are women who are complacent in the violence, there are young women like Abida that face the awful consequences of threatening the honour of their fathers. There are men that use violence because they can, but there are good men to. Altogether they make No Honour a must read novel, one that will open your eyes the frightening complexity of Abida’s world.
You can purchase this novel directly from the publisher at Orenda Books.
You can also order it from one of the amazing independent bookshops we are so lucky to have, such as Bert Books that offer an Orenda book subscription.
About the author
Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University. He has studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim and he regularly appears on TV and Radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He is currently working on his third book. When not working, he has his nose buried in a book. He lives in Lahore.
You can follow the author on Twitter.