Unmarriageable

A Novel
Narrated by: Soniah Kamal
Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (153 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms." (People)

Alys Binat has sworn never to marry - until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

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.

Praise for Unmarriageable:

“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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

P&P with a "Citizen of the World" perspective

Since I've lived in both the East and the West and since I'm an ardent Janeite, I found so much to love about this book. The author delivers a thoughtfully feminist interpretation of Pride and Prejudice in the context of a culture more Victorian than Victorian England. She also celebrates the bravery and skill it takes to live anywhere and adapt successfully. It's fun to make notice where she deviates away from the original plot to render the story more contemporary and consistent with modern life. It was also fun to note the slight variation in accents in characters with different socio-economic situations. I wanted to listen in one fell swoop!

2 people found this helpful

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Author as narrator -Perfectly excellent

I rarely write reviews but, I must call attention to the narration of this lovely little novel by the writer. It is absolutely perfect. Soniah Kamel has an elegant, satisfyingly feminine voice (without being girlish) and the ability to capture every nuance, every emotions of the characters she writes about. I rarely like a narrator on first listen, though I often get accustomed and forget about any inadequacies, but Kamel's narration is so wonderful I just want to listen to her all day.

2 people found this helpful

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Unputdownable

I loved this story, Austen would be proud to read this version of one of greatest work. I listed to the audio version and the author has narrated the story with great emotion. Would recommend this book to any one who loves Pride and Prejudice. I bought the hard copy of the book so I can reread it :)

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Inane

This book was so inane that I couldn't finish it. It was recommended by my book club - guess I'll miss that meeting. I rarely leave a book unfinished, but I got 1/3 of the way into this but the lack of any discernible plot in addition to the pettiness of the characters just got to me.

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Easy and light

Easy and light listening, but it gave me great insight into another culture. I loved it

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A treat even if you don’t know P&P❤️

This is a fabulous novel and stands on its own without the P&P connection, though I loved that too. Imagining P&P in Pakistan was fun and I found myself inventing reasons to listen outside my usual commute/exercise habit.
Ms Kamal is an excellent reader.

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Truly Delightful

If you like Austen, you cannot help but enjoy this lovely contemporary play on P&P. It's like being given the gift of reading the original for the first time but with fresh, new (but wholly recognizable) characters.

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Wonderful Pride &Prejudice variation

A variation not to be missed for Pride and Prejudice fans!
A great narration too!

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A bookish delight!

A beautiful retelling of Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan and with the eldest Bennet sisters as English teachers. Warmed my book lover's heart! Also, the reading is excellent, so funny and engaging.

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Great rendition of P&P

Any lover of pride and prejudice will appreciate this modern retelling of a familiar story. The plot and Pakistani setting keeps it interesting even when you know how it will end!