The palaeontologist Zahoor tries to do his research while General Zia is launching a campaign to Islamise knowledge. In the Punjab salt Range, Zahoor's granddaughter Amal finds proof of the dog-whale, Pakicetus, the oldest known primitive whale. But Amal's baby sister, Mehwhish becomes blind and Amal will have to stay at home to raise her. Norman, neurotic, very funny (and horny), an aspiring mathematician, hopes one day to find a number like a magic bloom. Instead, he's appointed secretary to his father, a minister in the Party of Creation. His father wants Norman to help put the youth of Pakistan back on the Straight Path Instead of finding the Straight Path, however, Norman finds Zahoor. While the culture war between the Islamists and the secularists rages, Norman bats for both sides. The friendship between Norman, Zahoor, Aml and Mehwish grows. And then, at Amal's wedding, tragedy strikes. Zahoor is locked up. It seems it will take an old man on trial to make youth find itself.
Runner-up for Independent Publisher Book Awards: Multicultural Fiction (Adult) Bronze Award 2010.
Uzma Aslam Khan grew up in Karachi, and since 1998 (until recently) lived in Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Hawaii.