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  • Monika Satote

Are you enjoying by Meera Sethi : A collection of short stories set in Pakistan

"Are You Enjoying?" by Mira Sethi comprises seven stories set in Pakistan. In this book, Sethi bestowed the idea of contemporary Pakistan, which most of the world is unaware of because we know how the majority of the nations recognize South Asian countries. So, reading this book will give them quite a shock. I, too, never imagined the idea of urban Pakistan as presented in this book, and I highly blame the media and Bollywood for that. I had a different picture in my mind when I saw reviews of this book stating this as "Contemporary Pakistani literature". I am a little embarrassed for never trying to go beyond what I see on television or in papers. So, kudos to Sethi for this much-needed representation of Pakistan. This is how stories can create a sense of connection. They can be the force of social change, and of blurring the boundaries.

The themes of Sethi's stories are quite universal since most of them are about the lived experiences of humans - On identities, religious and political conflicts, sexual orientations, family matters, our vulnerabilities as humans, the tragedies that occur when we see ourselves switching between modern and outdated traditions etc.

Childhood besties marrying each other to keep their sexuality a secret

A young rich girl with anxiety disorder plus romantic dilemma

The people of religious group

A struggling artist on her way to lead the film

A journalist and his secret affair

All these people are known to us, but what weaves these stories better are their choices and experiences. The theme range is extensive, but still, I feel that these stories did not grant me anything new. Every time I started a new one, it took me some time to get involved in it. I found these stories to be very stretchy, and that somehow killed the flavour. The only part that kept me going is the raw emotions and observatory writing. Sethi's style is quite unusual and interesting. She coordinates the emotions well with her witty dialogues. She knows the sharp and soft locations well. The ends of her stories are open but leave you reflecting.

Overall, a good endeavour and much-needed representation. I would have loved these stories more if they were a little shorter. I recommend this book to readers interested in contemporary literature and who want to read about modern Pakistan beyond what they see in the media.

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