We are right in the middle of the”Best Of 2018″ list season.
And I want to tell you about one book that will definitely be on my best of 2018 list.
About a month ago, we decided to have an author event at our book club. We invited Raashida Khan to join in on our discussion as we dissected her book. I think that’s a brave choice for any author to make because you not really sure what you are going to get.
First things first, the synopsis;
What if the perfect life is threatened by absolute betrayal? If control is cruelly wrenched away? How does one survive? This a story of love, betrayal, hope and surrender.
Azraa Hassim is a strong, modern, Muslim woman, successful in her professional and personal life. She is confident and driven to provide the best life for her husband, herself, and their two daughters. This is made impossible when she is shattered by a revelation: her husband loves another. His betrayal destroys her. She questions her identity, her beliefs, her relationships … her entire life.
She is pushed to breaking point when her youngest child becomes terminally ill. Azraa must conjure up all her strength to hold onto herself long enough to get through this tremulous storm. If she does not, everything that she knew to be true about herself may be lost to the cracks of time, forever disjointing the image reflected back to her from the mirror.
This tumultuous tale starts off slow and steady as a portrait of all the characters are painted. Zack, Azraa and Fareed are interesting characters and by the time I reached the first major plot twist I was fully invested in the characters and the book. Raashida’s novel deals with the intricacies of marriage and perhaps the ultimate betrayal with a raw bite but also a refreshing narrative. She handles her debut novel with a touch of sensitivity and this comes from writing well-developed characters who felt real and had endearing qualities. Azraa is woman who has it all figured out and as someone who always seems to have things in control to see her unravelling was fascinating. As much as there are three leading characters in the book, I felt that Azraa had a powerful presence throughout the novel.
The story moves at a comfortable pace and as clichèd as it sounds, you won’t be able to put this one down. Mirror Cracked was sobering and intriguing and Raashida’s writing flows with crisp clarity. It will invoke powerful thoughts and emotions in the reader and it is one of those stories that lingers long after you close the book.
In terms of it being a South African novel dealing with marriage between a Muslim couple, I did find this a bit unsettling but I’m glad that we have fearless writers in our community that can tackle issues with such honesty and clarity. And I think everyone should read it.
I was grateful that as a book club we could discuss issues we had and Raashida was so generous and gracious with her answers. And for me this why I find, fiction is such a powerful tool, allowing us to broach topics and put a magnifying glass on issues with a more empathic approach. Mirror Cracked was definitely our book club highlight of 2018.
The ending of Mirror Cracked felt open-ended and initially I was left thinking that you can draw your own conclusions but Raashida surprises the reader with an author’s note, the sequel to Mirror Cracked will be released in early 2019. I can’t wait for it. So, if you have not read this stunning debut which is definitely one of my must read of 2018, you still have time. Put it on the top of your TBR pile for the holidays. And, I will say this about Raashida Khan, watch this space. She’s going places.
An earth shattering 4 **** for me.
Mirror Cracked is available at Love Books in Melville JHB, they do courier copies nationwide and selected Exclusive books stores. E-copies are available on Amazon.com so really there is no excuse.
Get yours now! #MirrorCracked