Beyond the Fields review by amandaspk17
Age Range - Adult
Genre - Fiction
Five Star Award

Student Review

Profile Picture
Age at time of review - 20
Reviewer's Location - Brule, NE, United States
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Taking the reader into Pakistan of the 1980s, Beyond the Fields by Aysha Baqir is a transforming and eye-opening read. The novel is told through Zara, a fifteen or sixteen-year-old girl growing up in a poor village steeped in family, religious, and governmental traditions she doesn't understand and refuses to believe. Zara wishes to be more than the life her mother has planned for her: a dutiful wife to a rich man. She is attempting to escape this through her secret studies with her older brother, Omer. 
 
Everything appears to be on track for Zara attending an all-girls' school in the neighboring town when tragedy strikes. When Zara's twin sister, Tara, is raped and left for dead, their parents make a decision that will change everything. Now Zara is on a mission to find and save her sister, while still trying to save herself from the beliefs and laws that have trapped the rest of her family.
 
Will Zara be able to rescue her beloved twin? Will she ever find the future she so desperately seeks?

Opinion: 

Beyond the Fields was a very easy novel to get sucked into. Beginning the story in the middle, Aysha Baqir creates suspense and an intense desire to discover what Zara is running from or to. As the story rewinds and takes you back to the dusty roadways of Zara and Tara's village, you quickly become enmeshed in a culture and society very different from your own. 

Not knowing a lot about the governmental structure of Pakistan in the 1980s, I found myself getting angry or frustrated at the obstacles in Zara's path. The moment when Zara mentions Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon in contrast with their non-electrical lives, I was shocked. I had almost forgotten I was not reading a novel set one hundred years ago, but a mere forty. 

Due to some graphic content, I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 15. Women and girls will find special meaning in Zara's heroic journey.

Rating:
5
Content Rating:

Content rating - mature content

Explain your content rating: 

rape (multiple), prostitution, physical assault
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