Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A review of "A Beautiful Lie" by Irfan Master

Hello People in the Ether,

   So, it's about time for a YA, and a debut YA with plenty of boy-appeal at that. "A Beautiful Lie" by Irfan Master is a tale of honour, religion and filial love. Set in northern India as partition approaches in 1947, Bilal must care for his dying father amid all the turmoil and violence. His narration is innocent, naive and heartfelt, we learn heartbreak along with Bilal. The story is populated by noble elders, riotous youths and ghosts of things lost or leaving.   

    His father is wise, gentle and learned - the most prized possession in their simple home is the wall of books. He also believes in India as an entity, a land of cultures and religions coexisting harmoniously. So Bilal and his friends plot to protect him from the truth of the sectarian attacks and the fact that his beloved India is about to be divided into different states.


    The narrative is touching and dramatic. It understandably focuses on Bilal's experiences and might be a bit too sweet or over-simplified for a non-YA reader, losing some of its impetus in the middle, but it is admirable in its themes. It's rich, atmospheric and engaging. And the epilogue will bring a lump to even the most resistant of throats. It's refreshing to find a straight historical fiction in YA that doesn't revolve around royalty, romance or the supernatural - I enjoyed it.

          Thanks for reading,

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