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Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro


Other Names for Love by Taymour Soomro
UK Publication:  July 2022
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Vintage (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Goodreads: A charged, hypnotic debut novel about a boy’s life-changing summer in rural Pakistan: a story of fathers, sons, and the consequences of desire.

At age sixteen, Fahad hopes to spend the summer with his mother in London. His father, Rafik, has other plans: hauling his son to Abad, the family’s feudal estate in upcountry, Pakistan. Rafik wants to toughen up his sensitive boy, to teach him about power, duty, family—to make him a man. He enlists Ali, a local teenager, in this project, hoping his presence will prove instructive.

Instead, over the course of one hot, indolent season, attraction blooms between the two boys, and Fahad finds himself seduced by the wildness of the land and its inhabitants: the people, who revere and revile his father in turn; cousin Mousey, who lives alone with a man he calls his manager; and most of all, Ali, who threatens to unearth all that is hidden.

Decades later, Fahad is living abroad when he receives a call from his mother summoning him home. His return will force him to face the past. Taymour Soomro’s Other Names for Love is a tale of masculinity, inheritance, and desire set against the backdrop of a country’s troubled history, told with uncommon urgency and beauty.

My Thoughts: I am sorry to have to say that this book wasn’t really for me I felt disconnected from the characters, the switch in narrators was jarring and the jumps in time left so much unexplained that I was left confused.

What I did enjoy was the exploration of rural Pakistan and the politics involved in land owning, the struggle to find a crop that can provide a living and how much of an impact the weather has on the survival of the people. Pakistan felt like the most real character in this story and the descriptions of the land and weather are beautiful.

The book also explores family dynamics and how an unbalanced inheritance can tear apart even those closest to each other add in the dimension of different upbringings and outlook and disaster is always looming in the background.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in rural Pakistan and life within that society.

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