Book Review : Stealing Nasreen

Let me begin with an apology to the author, Farzana Doctor, for making this the longest time ever taken to review a book. My excuse is that I was moving across continents and then across several different flats and jobs and now I’ll end my poor excuse list and begin with the review.


STEALING NASREEN – Farzana Doctor 

The book shows us glimpses of the lives of three very different characters, Nasreen, Salma and Shaffiq.

Salma & Shaffiq have moved to Canada, from Bombay, in search of better opportunities and a better life for their children. Shaffiq, an accountant, takes a job as a janitor working the late night shift to pay the bills. Salma used to be a teacher in Bombay and is now a house wife.

Nasreen is the Canadian born daughter of Indian immigrants and is a psychologist at the hospital where Shaffiq is a janitor. She also happens to be a lesbian who’s in the midst of recovering from an ugly end to a long term relationship.

The story begins to take shape when Nasreen starts to take Gujrati lessons from Salma, not realizing that she is Shaffiq’s wife.

There is an undeniable chemistry between them and as you watch them trying to avoid it you know that something’s going to happen between them.

The book deals with the secrets, lies and confrontations that arise because of this chemistry with a great deal of tenderness and wit.

My favorite character was Salma and I kept wanting her to get out of this trapped existence that she lived in and so I was really rooting for Nasreen and her to end up together.

Although I don’t call myself a Torontonian, any longer, it was still lovely to read a book that brought so much of a familiar city into its pages. The added bonus was that the city that I do call home – ‘Bombay’ – was also part of the story.

I have to admit that parts of the book were a little surreal and I wished the ending had been different.

Still – ‘Stealing Nasreen’ is a good, fun read. Go buy a copy!


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