Summary and book reviews of Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

Unmarriageable

by Soniah Kamal

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal X
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal
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  • Published:
    Jan 2019, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Book Summary

In this one-of-a-kind 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 concerning 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 have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys's lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad "Bungles" Bingla, the wildly successful - and single - entrepreneur. But Bungles's 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. 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.

Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen's beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood.

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Unmarriageable is far more than a connect-the-dots retelling of Pride and Prejudice with 2001 Pakistan standing in for Regency England and shalwar khameez substituted for corsets and petticoats. In between the moments of broad humor, Kamal offers many moments of real insight into a culture where class, reputation and marriageability are still paramount considerations.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Kamal's version has its flaws, but overall it's a delicious book, something to sink your teeth into.

Booklist
This love letter to Austen reexamines sisterhood, society, and marriage in Pakistani culture and includes a fleshed-out epilogue that will satisfy today's readers.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.

Library Journal
Starred Review. The dialog sparkles with sharp humor, which will dazzle readers with counterparts of the original...Austen devotees will rejoice in this respectful cross-cultural update of a beloved classic.

Reader Reviews

Betty Taylor

It is a truth universally acknowledged...
β€œIt 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.” – the opening sentence of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen This delightful ...   Read More

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