The wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

The wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

Pakistan fiction

Man Asian longlist 2011

Jamil Ahmad has spent his life as a civil servant and working closely in the tribal regions of pakistan near the Afghan border ,working closely for nearly fifty years with them .This book he had written over years and it was sent by a member of his family for a short story prize  and end up being publish as it was in a novel form

Now wander falcon is set in that area of tribes that is now part of Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iran,part of which Robert Byron visit in the thirties in his book the road to Oxiana .THE book is told from a child that is found abandoned as his parents had broken tribal rules and had run off but he ends up alone in the desert , as he grows up ,in this sometimes harsh part of the world  .But this isn’t a book that is harsh on these people the one thing that shines through is the writers love for the region and the people living their .Now as a western a lot of what happens in the book can seem harsh when we see it on the news but when read here in context by some one that knows the people so well it comes across as  part of there society and tribal tradition .So we follow Tor Baz the abandon boy as he grows to be known as the black falcon  as he is adopted by one leader but then as he isn’t of that tribe wanders like a falcon hovering around the tribes ,this happens through nine chapters that in their own way are little stories that make up the novel as a whole with just Tor Baz appearing all the way through the book  and deal with various parts of his life . The book is set from the 1950s  before russia got heavily involved in Afghanistan thou they are mention also how the tribes got involved in the second world war .This is also the time before  the Taliban were not about .Even though it is in that time as the story of tribes and the warriors in them and the women unfold you feel this could be any time in the last five hundred years as the rich tribal traditions are so interwoven into the people Jamil describes it is imbedded in  there DNA this way of life  .

His hair gave credence to his tale .Even his eyebrows and eyelashes looked like freshly fallen snow clinging bravely to a cliff face .But then his energy and vitality seemed to belie his claim as he led his nomadic tribe ,year after year ,on their second migration from the afghan highlands .

A tribal leader sadar Karim Khan Kharot or the general described .

Jamil as shown in this passage has a poetic turn of phrase but the book is a simple narrative but done to perfection there is no need for clever writing as what he is writing is the world he has known for most of his life ,you feel he’s meet Tor Baz young men that drift these worlds due to fate and his parents bad luck at break rules  and also  tribal leaders ,but also the women come through not a the veiled weak figures that we sometimes see when this region is describe but a strong-willed females who are trying to make the way in a harsh male world in a harsh unforgiving part of the world .It’s fair to say I loved this book it was refreshing to read something that felt like a real portrayal of the tribes men not just our western view of them .

This was my review for the Shadow man asian judges Lisa has also review it very differently to my review


25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Dec 07, 2011 @ 23:50:49

    Great review Stu. Makes me want to get the book. Also visited Lisa and checked her review. Thanks for the link.


  2. Lynne
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 01:34:36

    Thank you so much for reviewing this book. It has been languishing in my TBR stacks and I would like to get to it.


  3. Violet
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 02:27:56

    This sounds like a really interesting book. I think we need more books that show us what life was, and probably still is, really like for people who live in places we only hear negative things about in the news.


  4. Tony
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 06:37:04

    Another good read by the sounds of it. Are you going through the whole longlist?


  5. Lisa Hill
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 07:55:17

    I’m so glad you liked it too, you’ve made a good point about the way he’s portrayed women, Stu!


  6. Trackback: Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011) « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  7. JoV
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 20:49:42

    I haven’t read many books about Pakistan, especially before the advent of the Taliban. This sounds good. Thanks for the review!


  8. Emily Jane
    Dec 08, 2011 @ 23:39:55

    I can’t remember where, but I just read a review of this…yours has only confirmed my desire to read it. Sounds great!


  9. Trackback: More about the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist 2011 « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  10. Trackback: Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize « A Novel Approach
  11. Anbolyn
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 23:06:41

    Another wonderful sounding translated book that my library doesn’t have 😦


  12. Trackback: More about the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist 2011 « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  13. Lynne
    Dec 10, 2011 @ 16:47:49

    Stu, because of your enthusiasm and good taste in world fiction, you received a Liebster Blog Award. It’s peer recognition as a way to let others know of blogs that we admire. You, of course, came to my mind right away:


  14. Trackback: Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011: Reviews from the week December 4-10 « Whispering Gums
  15. Gavin
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 21:17:34

    Thanks for this review, Stu. I have this one on hold at my library but I think it will have to wait until after the TBR double dare!


  16. Tom Cunliffe
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 21:08:20

    I was sent this some time ago but for some reason couldn’t get into it. Perhaps I’ll dig it out and revisit it. I admire your peristence in reading all these Asian books – I find it difficult to stick with one genre for more than a couple of books


  17. Trackback: The Wandering Falcon – Jamil Ahmad – Farm Lane Books Blog
  18. Trackback: Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize #2 « A Novel Approach
  19. Trackback: Jamil Ahmad, The wandering falcon (Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011) « Whispering Gums
  20. whisperinggums
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 06:44:36

    Great review Stu – now I’ve read it too – I like your point about its being a “real” portrayal of the tribes versus our usual outsider’s view.


  21. Trackback: The Wandering Falcon #3 by Jamil Ahmad (Shadow Man Asian Literary Prize 2011) « ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  22. Trackback: Man Asian Literary Prize Shortlist | Read, Ramble
  23. Trackback: Man asian Literary prize 2012 shortlist « Winstonsdad's Blog
  24. Trackback: The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad | Page247

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December 2011


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