Monday, August 15, 2011
THE WANDERING FALCON-A BOOK REVIEW
THE WANDERING FALCON : JAMIL AHMAD: PENGUIN: PAGES 180: PRICE: RS 399
It is a stunning debut novel by the author Jamil Ahmad, a septuagenarian and a retired member of the Civil Service of Pakistan and a gifted storyteller whose hallmarks are restraint and brevity. He takes us to the tribal areas where Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran seem to converge. These inhospitable areas are today hotbeds of conflicts and conspiracies. Mahsouds and Wazirs are two among many nomadic tribes who often clash with each other. It is the survival of the fittest. The protagonist is a young boy called Tor Baz (black falcon). He is the hunting falcon. He mingles with people of three different nationalities. Men who are fighting for their countries and women who have to honour their society’s code of conduct if they wish to survive. Who is Tor Baz.? From where did he come? And where shall fate take him? Is he a device or a metaphor than a character? It is a tightly plotted and engaging novel, superbly crafted by a writer who brings a high degree of tenderness and sensitivity in dealing with a complex subject of which he shows extraordinary knowledge and understanding.