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Meatless Days

In this finely wrought memoir of life in postcolonial Pakistan, Suleri intertwines the violent history of Pakistan’s independence with her own most intimate memories—of her Welsh mother; of her Pakistani father, prominent political journalist Z.A. Suleri; of her tenacious grandmother Dadi and five siblings; and of her own passage to the West.

"Nine autobiographical tales that move easily back and forth among Pakistan, Britain, and the United States. . . . She forays lightly into Pakistani history, and deeply
into the history of her family and friends. . . . The Suleri women at home in Pakistan make this book sing."—Daniel Wolfe, New York Times Book Review

"A jewel of insight and beauty. . . . Suleri’s voice has the same authority when she speaks about Pakistani politics as it does in her literary interludes."—Rone Tempest, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"The author has a gift for rendering her family with a few, deft strokes, turning them out as whole and complete as eggs."—Anita Desai, Washington Post Book World

"Meatless Days takes the reader through a Third World that will surprise and confound him even as it records the author’s similar perplexities while coming to terms with the West. Those voyages Suleri narrates in great strings of words and images so rich that they left this reader . . . hungering for more."—Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune

"Dazzling. . . . Suleri is a postcolonial Proust to Rushdie’s phantasmagorical Pynchon."—Henry Louise Gates, Jr., Voice Literary Supplement

192 pages | 1 halftone | 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 | © 1989

Asian Studies: South Asia

Biography and Letters

Literature and Literary Criticism: Asian Languages

Reviews

"[Meatless Days] is, ultimately, a book of loss. The deaths of Suleri’s mother and sister form the heart of this memoir; every moment is refracted through a lens of pain. . . . For all the verbal panache and structural ingenuity of Meatless Days, the final words I say about it must be this: I have never read a finer depiction of the fierceness of sibling love."

Kamila Shamsie | Independent

“Dazzling. . . . For with her own recognition that history is not the exclusive property of her father’s copperplates, Suleri has set herself loose, a Proust in Pakistan, to wander among her own several lives.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr. | Voice Literary Supplement

“Suleri has chosen to take the fragments of a life, and related lives, into her palm, shake them, spread them out, then gather them up and give them another shake, as if she were playing with a kaleidoscope. . . . They are like the patterns carved out of lapis lazuli and agate, onyx and opal, set in the marble of Moghul tombs.”

Anita Desai, | Washington Post Book World

Meatless Days takes the reader through a Third World that will surprise and confound him even as it records the author’s similar perplexities while coming to terms with the West. Those voyages Suleri narrates in great strings of words and images so rich that they left this reader, at least, alternately sated and hungering for more.”

Ron Grossman | Chicago Tribune

“A jewel of insight and beauty.”

Rone Tempest | Los Angeles Times Book Review

Table of Contents

Excellent Things in Women
Meatless Days
Mustakori, My Friend: A Study of Perfect Ignorance
Goodbye to the Greatness of Tom
The Right Path; or, They Took the Wrong Road
Papa and Pakistan
The Immoderation of Ifat
What Mamma Knew
Saving Daylight

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