Title: Butterfly Season
Author: Natasha Ahmed
About the story: On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.
Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.
Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.
We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.
Review: The first thing that came to my mind after reading this novella by debuting author Natasha Ahmed was that good things do come in small packages. This short read has a wonderful story that many women, from countries where pre-marital relationships are frowned upon, can relate to.
The conflict in the mind of Rumi, a 30-something single women from Pakistan, when she falls in love with Ahad is emphatically depicted. The archaic values that have been cultivated in her mind for more than 3 decades by her sister and family create a clash when she loses her heart to the charming and nonchalant Ahad.
Ahad wants Rumi to explore her own desires and decide her future rather than let her family monopolize her life.
Rumi’s decision can not only alter her relations with her younger sister, who firmly believes that pre-marital sex for a Pakistani woman is immoral, but it can also cause her extended family in London and Pakistan to sever ties with her.
The narration is excellent and we do get a fleeting glimpse of life for a single woman in Karachi, although I wished that the author had given more insight into Rumi’s life before she met Ahad.
Butterfly Season is an impressive, contemporary story about breaking free from the hackles of hypocritical society.