For women growing up in Pakistan's patriarchal, segregated society, it is not surprising that female friendships take on a deep, enduring resonance. These relationships, formed in adolescence and nurtured into adulthood, give Afzal-Khan the strength to be defiant, a wry sense of humor to weather the contradictions in daily Pakistani life, and memories to sustain her as she continues to straddle two continents and two cultures. In "Lahore with Love", Afzal-Khan shares intimate stories of these young girls, and later women, celebrating the strong bonds that helped shape her character. She balances this coming-of-age memoir with a clear-eyed look at a country that evokes both fierce loyalty and ulter despair from its inhabitants. The author recalls growing up in the sixties and seventies in Lahore, living in a time of war, attending a Roman Catholic school as a Muslim middle-class teenager, and enduring the constant political upheaval that threatened her freedoms. Afzal-Khan eventually leaves Lahore and moves to the United States to pursue her Ph.D. She recounts the complex mix of longing and alienation that she feels upon returning to visit her homeland and friends.
"Lahore with Love" offers a rich portrait of daily life in Pakistan. Afzal-Khan gives readers a welcome alternative to the often reductive, flat images of modern Muslim women.
Fawzia Afzal-Khan is professor of English and director of Women and Gender Studies at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She is a published poet and playwright. Her books include Cultural Imperialism and the Indo-English Novel and A Critical Stage: The Role of Secular Alternative Theatre in Pakistan. She is the coeditor of Shaltering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out and The Pre-occupation of Postcolonial Studies.