It had been some time since I read a good book and I was desperately looking for one.
When I first saw “The Migrants” by Salma Siddiqui, I had a good feeling about it (yes, books do send out vibes).
After a while, I was able to get to it, and boy am I happy that I did?
★★★★★ (5 out of 5)
The story is about a girl, a family who lives in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and migrates to London.
It revolves around a family and their tribulations of migration to Pakistan during Partition and their journey to London in search of a better life.
How life was in Pakistan, the challenges, the joys and then their move to England. Their settling down challenges mingling with an entirely new society. Parents predicament between freedom and keeping their culture alive within Children.
The scars of partition carried by the elders and yet trying to move on with their lives. How the common man became a pawn in the hands of politicians during the partition.
All of this is depicted through the eyes and words of the author in a first-person account in this book.
What I Think
The Migrants is a ‘uniquely common’ story of Migrants across the world. Their struggles, dehumanization, poverty, suffering, and pain. And their progress and making an identity for themselves in the face of adversity.
While I was reading this book, I saw another Migrant success stories bagging the top honors of the world in cinema, Rami Malek for Bohemian Rhapsody.
In many ways, a large part of all migrant stories is the same, yet they are unique in the manner in which they are told. And Salma Siddiqui does an excellent job of that in “The Migrants”.
And to think of it that it’s her first book, Bravo!!
The story is so beautifully and succinctly written that you get totally immersed in it. From the carefree and colorful streets of Rawalpindi to the cold and hard streets of London, how a young girl and a Pakistani family tries to adapt themselves in this new and different world, is beautifully depicted.
The character sketches are so vivid and full of life that you are able to identify with them as someone you know (at least if you are Asian).
The search of a better life for family for which separation and hardships are to be endured by fathers and families. The constant struggle of trying to mingle within the new society and yet trying to keep your cultural values and family intact. The zeal to make an identity for yourself in a foreign land. And the predicament to call a new place as your ‘home.’ All of these thoughts, and feelings have been beautifully captured by the author in this nearly 600-page historical fiction.
Partition is always a sore subject for both India and Pakistan and reading the personal stories of atrocities and madness makes you cry out in pain.
It is one of those books where I wouldn’t like to change or edit anything about it. From the cover to the content everything complements each other. Every character brings a new life to the story.
This is the type of book that I yearn to read from the first time authors. There are millions of good stories worth telling, and it takes dexterity to tell them in a manner which interests the audience.
And it takes hard work to write a good story and do justice to it.
Hats off to Salma Siddiqui to pull this off in her very first book and I will definitely look forward to her writings in future.
Final accolades for her, when I was reading The Migrant, at few places I was so much reminded of Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing. Need I say more?
Go get your copy of “The Migrant” by Salma Siddiqui. You will cherish it.
You can buy this book at a low price from Amazon.in