Haji traces in her impressive debut the fortunes of a family divided by secrets and lies as much as by the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent. Saira Qader, an American teenager of Indo-Pakistani descent, lives a sheltered life in California with her older sister, Ameena, and their overprotective and fiercely traditional parents. Saira's view of her family changes dramatically when she attends a wedding in Karachi and learns that her mother had lied to her about Saira's grandfather: he is not dead but living in London with a second family.
As she learns more about her grandfather's work with Gandhi and the independence movement, Saira dreams of going to college instead of marrying early like her sister, and later carves out a life as a war journalist. But an unforeseen tragedy makes her choose between her peripatetic existence and the more traditional (and perhaps more desirable) setup awaiting her at home. Haji achieves an effortless commingling of family and social history in this intricate story that connects a young woman and her family over continents and through generations. – Publishers Weekly
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Added by pamgrange on April 3, 2009