The only author who I have read traversing the borders between Pakistan and Afghanistan is Khaled Hosseini. And he is one author who brings the emotions out of his reader. I don’t know what appealed to me in this book, if it was the title or the cover page or the fact that the story is of a boy who wanders in the borders between those two countries. Or maybe it was a mix of all those things.
Start at the beginning and build the story up seems to be the logic behind this book, and Jamil Ahmad does that well. From what got the boy to the desert, to his early childhood and what happened to his parents, the story is set in the beginning itself, rather than take me to the character midway to his life. And after that, with each chapter, his life moves into a different stage, a different tribe, a different role. Unnamed till he is nicknamed Tor Baz, his story is not just his story, but of each tribe that he enters. The story brings to the fore, relationships and boundaries, traditions both interesting and hated, adventure and most importantly, survival.
There is an art to storytelling that I’m yet to learn properly, but what is seen vividly in this book. It’s about keeping the attention of the reader, me, with simple yet beautiful language, and bringing it to life. The way Jamil Ahmad narrates it; I could visualize the military post in the storm, the two black towers of stone and so much more. It’s like there are mini stories in one big story where Tor Baz changes places often. It’s a story of nomadic life, as well as violence and death.
The flipside to the novel is that there are so many tribes that I felt a bit lost with them.
Tehelka sums up the author’s style as “… moving, sometimes haunting, often funny and never judgmental”. Though the funny part is missing for most of the novel, I can say that it definitely is moving and haunting.
|Title: The Wandering Falcon|
|Author(s): Jamil Ahmad||Genre: Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9780143419129||Publisher: Penguin Books India|
|No. of Pages: 180||Price: Rs. 299|
(© 11th April 2015)