17 Apr / Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal [in Booklist]
Since Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice in 1813, hundreds of adaptations have followed, but Soniah Kamal is the first to set the affair in Pakistan, her birth country. Meet feisty girls’-school English-literature teacher Alys Binat and arrogant Valentine Darsee. The rest is … well, familiar. Mrs. Binat plots to marry her daughters to wealthy men, Alys’ sister Jena’s love-at-first-sight coupling gets temporarily interrupted, dandy Wickaam fuels Alys’ disdain of Darsee, but (of course) the happy ending proves inevitable.
Kamal adds an extensive epilogue, which is delicious fun, while her “Pride and Prejudice and Me” author’s note explains why this is actually, exactly, a Pakistani story. As Kamal also narrates, her second novel sounds exactly as she wrote it. She’s especially entertaining when voicing unlikely couples – from malapropism-plagued Mrs. Binat and mild-mannered Mr. Binat to the sparring confrontations of unlikely lovers. On the page or in the ears, Kamal adds a unique multi-culti addition to the seemingly limitless P&P-derivative genre.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult