I’m a huge Jane Austen fan and naturally interested in any adaption of her works. Here is a book review of Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan. No spoilers.
The Bennets are the Binnats, Fitzwilliam Darcy is Valentine Darsee and Bingles is Fahad “Bungles” Bingla in the world Soniah Kamal creates. Jane Austen might have written Pride and Prejudice in 1813 but some of the realities for women in the regency era are still prevalent in Pakistan. These include future prospects tied to marriage, limitations on careers and an extreme fixation by society on matchmaking and weddings.
The heroine of the book is Alys Binat, who like our own beloved Elizabeth Bennet, has a much different outlook to life. As a school teacher she also gives aspirations to her female students beyond marriage and to pursue their education further.
A big test of any Pride and Prejudice retelling for me is how the character of Mr. Darcy is sketched. Soniah Kamal’s Valentine Darcy is intellectual, aloof and oh so handsome!
The book is a light read but also brings forth many social issues such as the class system in Pakistan and importance of education for girls.
I have seen the book being sold in Costco, Save-on-Foods along with all major book stores in Canada. It makes me extremely proud for the work of a Pakistani author to be showcased in such a lovely way.
Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal is sprinkled with beautiful Urdu words along with cultural and literary references. There is a “notes and references” section at the end of the book along with a “Reader’s Guide” to expand more on these.
Do read the book not just because you’re a Jane Austen fan but because of the delight this book is! Highly recommend it.
What did you think of this book review of Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal? Have you read the book?