The End of Innocence By Moni Mohsin

As I have mentioned before, I have developed a taste for books related to the Indian Subcontinent. I grabbed this book, based on the synopsis at the back and the fact that it was a book by a Pakistani author – a first for me.

Based in the Pakistan of 1971, with the backdrop of the civil war within Pakistan and the war with India, it is a touching story of a friendship between two girls. Laila is the eight year-old daughter of Fareeda and Tariq Aseem.  They live in the little village of Sabzbagh. Tariq’s mother lives in a neighbouring village of Kalanpur. Laila and her elder sister Sara live in Lahore during term time and are home with their parents during the holidays, as they attend a convent school in Lahore.

At the time the story starts, Laila is at home recovering from typhoid. Sara is at school. Laila is delighted that she can have Rani, her paternal grandmother’s servant’s granddaughter all to herself. Rani is older than Laila and when Sara is around Laila is the odd one out. Living in a world of her own, created by her imagination, aided by all the Enid Blytons that she reads, all she wants is to solve mysteries and have a dog. Rani, on the other hand is older, being a teenager, she is more interested in Heer, Ranjha and romantic movies and hopes to meet her own Ranjha some time.

The adults are all worried about the impending war with India.  Most of them are aghast at the idea that their beloved nation is breaking up into two. Only Laila’s dad, Tariq, wonders if it had been one nation – ever?

Amidst all this, Rani falls in love with someone, and end up pregnant. Laila understood that something was wrong, but was too young to understand much. All she wanted was to help, to be part of Rani’s team. In her zest and enthusiasm to help, she sets off in motion, something totally different.

The relationship between the two girls is portrayed beautifully. Laila’s innocence, teamed with Rani’s child-woman feelings, the various undercurrents of society. Each character, I felt was very well etched out. Be it Fareeda, Tariq, or Sister Clementine. Each character’s compulsions and reactions, like how Fareeda reacts when Sister Clementine tries to tell her about Rani’s situation.

It was a wonderful read. I found the story fascinating. The situations beautifully depicted, and the child’s mind portrayed so very well. I would give it a 4/5.

30 thoughts on “The End of Innocence By Moni Mohsin

  1. First!!!! Oh this sounds like a really good book. For some reason, it reminded me of ‘a thousand splendid suns’. Will try to lay hands on this one too, after my other pile is finished 🙂 You are getting awesome at book reviews, girl!!

    Did it? It is quite a different book. I really enjoyed it. Give it a try after your pile is finished 🙂

      • I am gonna review it 2mrw 🙂

        Oh great 🙂 Waiting to read it 🙂 When will I get to read the book!!!

        I am searching for this one .. I luved the name, the cover everything 🙂 Thanks Smiths 🙂

        I picked it on a whim and am so glad that I did.

  2. Come what may, I am going to pick this up, Smits. Stories about friendship and camaraderie always fascinate me. This one seems a read I should not miss 🙂

    There is something very nice about the book, Deeps, it picked up on a lot of emotions and life as it must have been..

  3. Oh, somehow the book reminded me of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun ! noo..not that, actually it reminded me more of Pardesi Babu !

    You dont believe me, do you? But you can trust Pal and Swarr when they come up comments like that, huh ???? 😀 😀 😀

  4. looks like a good read! i wish i can get it here. I always love stories which is nto between a man and a woman! (do not get me wrong 😉 )

    I get what you mean 🙂 But these days, I have been reading loads of different types of books, and most are not the same typical ones, you know.

  5. Thoush this book sounds different and good but somehow I haven’t really liked the books by Pak authors!! There is soemthing depressing about their books!!!

    Still lemme see if I can get this coz I haven’t seen it here on racks!
    This was my first, Smita. I had never tried one before. And am happy that I did give it a try.

  6. Now this is one book I would liek to read..Yes, it does seem to have a bit of the thousands sun in it…
    Are you doing the one blog per day post…then I seem to have missed on a whole bunch..let me go about finishing my backlog

    I am doing a post every day, and it is tiring me out 🙂

  7. Sounds like a good book. Want to read it now. Will try to get my hands on a copy :).

    I really liked it. I had no expectations of it, as it was an author, I had never heard of, but I was pleasantly surprised.

  8. oh this book sounds very interesting..will read it for sure..

    these days, I have got this thing for Indian authors..I have been buying their books like them, get disappointed sometimes and grab the next one..I still have 10 unread books! at the moment I am reading Nothing can be as crazy..hope it’s nice 😐

    • Welcome here Neha, I know what you mean. I went through that phase too. These days I mix and match 😉 And I pick up anything that sounds nice to me 🙂 But yes, some are so disappointing, aren’t they?

  9. I dunno bout innocence but this post a day will bring The End of my Blog Reader very soon 😛

    Btw, sounds like a nice book. And even I haven’t read a Pakistani author yet.

  10. I’ve read some Pakistani woman poets… why woman because we had a course on women writing in the Indian subcontinent
    Never read a Pak novel before..With Pal there, reminded me of Thousand Splendid Suns… 🙂

    And this reminds me of my book reviews, It’s so easy to read a book, but to write a review.. !! 😀

    • IHM, The life they describe is so similar to ours! It could be either side of the border really.

      I love reading these books for the same reason too 🙂

  11. This sound like a really nice book. I have been reading a lot of Indian subcontinent related stuff and have been trying to consciously deviate from that. Just picked up The Book thief in that process. But, this sounds real amazing… and I am ordering it from flipkart 🙂

  12. Just came back to say that you were quiet successful in selling me this book. Just picked it from the Library after reading your awesome review about it.

    Ps: How is Bitter Chocolate going? I am waiting for your review on that coz I read that book at quiet a vulnerable age and couldn’t sleep for days 😥

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