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Unmarriageable

A Novel
Narrated by: Soniah Kamal
Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
4 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: $28.00
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Publisher's Summary

In this one-of-a-kind retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry - until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

“A fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.” (NPR)

A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more. 

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’ lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful - and single - entrepreneur. 

But Bungles’ friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal - and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen’s beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood.

“Delightful... Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture.... [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes.” (Star Tribune)

“Thoroughly charming.” (New York Post)

“[A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.” (Publishers Weekly)

©2019 Soniah Kamal (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“As with Austen, whose books could be read as fun and simple romances or acerbic examinations of class and women's choices (and lack thereof), Kamal's Unmarriageable succeeds in being both a deliciously readable romantic comedy and a commentary on class in post-colonial, post-partition Pakistan, where the effects of the British Empire still reverberate.... Both a fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.” (NPR)

“Delightful...Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture. It’s Pakistan circa 2001, when women’s rights were expanding but religious attitudes were becoming more strict. [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes.” (Star Tribune)

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Could be entertaining if not for unlikable heroine

It started really well and I was very excited to learn about Pakistani culture and new setting seemed to have fit perfectly. Yet, by the middle of the book I came to dislike Alys ("Lizzy") more and more for her being not witty and charming, but rude and disrespectful. By the time she calls "Darcy" "It" ("It has a sense of humor") and others laughed, I was ready to take sides of those characters in the book that thought negatively of her. I could not help but stopped listening in anger when Alys showered Darcy with insults after his proposal. I saw no reason for him to even like her! And there he was meekly listing their similarities. There I stopped and going to return the book.

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