City of Spies God was everywhere but so was the general It is the summer of and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat Weeks after her eleventh birthday Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been

  • Title: City of Spies
  • Author: Sorayya Khan
  • ISBN: 9789383064786
  • Page: 391
  • Format: Paperback
  • God was everywhere, but so was the general It is the summer of 1977 and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat Weeks after her eleventh birthday, Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been a coup d tat, General Zia has taken over the country and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is in jail Although the shadow of the general and his increasingly puritanica God was everywhere, but so was the general It is the summer of 1977 and Pakistan swelters in the unrelenting heat Weeks after her eleventh birthday, Aliya Shah wakes up to the news that there has been a coup d tat, General Zia has taken over the country and Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is in jail Although the shadow of the general and his increasingly puritanical edicts threaten to disrupt their comfortable existence, life goes on for Aliya much as before as she attends the American School in Islamabad However, when a much loved young boy, the son of the family retainer, dies tragically in a hit and run accident, her world is turned upside down, especially when she discovers the terrible secret of the murderer s identity.City of Spies is coming of age story that explores Aliya s conflicting loyalties and her on going struggle to make sense of her world Set in late 1970 s Islamabad and Lahore, City of Spies is a gripping novel that unfolds over thirty months in Pakistan s tumultuous history.

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    One thought on “City of Spies”

    1. Fascinating, pensive, and well written.City of Spies is an intriguing read that gives you an inside look into what life in Islamabad was like for a young girl of mixed race (Pakistani/Dutch) during the 1970s and the American influence in that part of the world at that time.Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son and Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

    2. This is a beautiful, complex, revelatory book about a girl's experience of being half-Pakistani and half-Dutch in the American School of Islamabad from 1977 until the Iranian hostage crisis and the burning of the American Embassy in 1979. Finally, all these years after September 11, we have a chance to go back in time and see the place that has become so familiar as a name in headlines and yet so difficult to know: Islamabad. "The beginning of this story is simple if you have an eye for colour, [...]

    3. CITY OF SPIES is a critically important and fascinating read in our time of political strife and international crisis.Thank you to Little A for providing me with an advance review copy of this title - all opinions are my own. Set in the late 1970's in Islamabad, Pakistan, this novel is narrated by a pre-teen girl as she experiences politically and historically monumental events including the Iran Hostage Crisis and the burning of the US Embassy in Islamabad. While these events are occurring, Ali [...]

    4. *NOTE: We (The Readdicts) recieved a copy of City of Spies by Sorayya Khan from Rupa Publications in exchange for an honest review. We thank the publishing house for the book! I honestly have no idea how I'm going to put down this review, and more importantly, I have no idea what I'm going to put down in this review. All I know is that I'm glad I kept my apprehension, boredom and reluctance aside and decided to ask for a copy of City of Spies, which turned to be exactly the kind of book that I l [...]

    5. Aliya, the story teller in the City of Spies, usually asks the right questions. Partly because she is often on the outside of whatever it is that's going on because she is caught betwixt and between. As a young person with a questioning mind she wonders about what is really going on - in the rapidly changing political landscape of a new Pakistan, at her home, at the American International school she travels to every day. She is from a mixed background with parents that have lived a worldly life [...]

    6. City of Spies was a brilliant read. Sorayya Khan took me back to my childhood and adolescence in Pakistan so seamlessly. She did what is so difficult i.e. paint a microcosm that sheds light on the macro climate through characters that live through seismic shifts of global events. The reader views events through very personal lenses of real peoples lives. I have rarely read a coming of age story that shows the schisms of home life and life outside of the family better. It illustrates the compromi [...]

    7. Another volume of lovely prose from this author. After a slow start, I was drawn into Pakistan of the 70s, as seen by a young girl. I was drawn back into my memories of being a tween at an American school in a foreign land (Mexico, in my case). I recognized the diplomatic families, often populated with spies, who got all their food and household supplies shipped from the States. Also the corporate kids (GM) who had drivers at their disposal at all times. We also had tense times at the school whe [...]

    8. Stunning coming of age book about an 11 year old girl living in Pakistan in the late 1970's and how she interprets the political upheaval and her personal life. She lives in a city of diplomats and goes to the American school so her friends leave after just a few years since their parents posts change. It's a true story which makes it even more meaningful. I wasn't sure how I felt about the book while I was reading it, but the ending, made it. Really touching and I won't forget this one.

    9. My second reading of City of Spies was just as enjoyable as the first back in 2015. And the truth in the sentence"we are defined by the wars we have lived, regardless of whether we can name them." hits way to close to home. An entire generation has been raised in the aftermath of the turmoil that the cold war superpowers helped to create back in the late 70's.

    10. I've been transported into an unfamiliar world, yet I feel completely comfortable. In this third novel from Sorayya Kahn, the calmness of her prose carries me effortlessly through the fascinating tale of a young girl's awakening. I imagined myself a thirteen year old girl, trying to understand events and people while struggling to fit in due to dual nationalities and the benefits of worldly experiences. As always with her work, Kahn teaches me not just history, culinary delights, and place, but [...]

    11. Very well written book about a young, mixed-culture girl growing up in a city misunderstood by most westerners. Half Pakistani and half Dutch, Aliya grows up privileged by local standards; attending the international school in the nation's capital. With one foot in two cultures, she struggles to straddle a precarious balance beam during a time of great strife between her two worlds. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

    12. Ms Khan begins her novel with “My parents tell me that we are defined by the wars we have lived, regardless of whether we can name them . They did not have the luxury of not knowing their wars…. Currently, we all live the War on Terror, an endless war that will outlive our children.” A war, I’d like to add, that George Orwell would have said: “I told you so.” Wars that are allowed because there are spies and we believe the lies. Is this a novel everyone should read? Absolutely, and e [...]

    13. City of Spies - Sorayya KhanAliya is a half Pakistani-half Dutch girl living in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. Her father moved the family from Vienna to Islamabad to answer the call of duty towards his nation. Just as she is adjusting to life here, there is a military coup and the government is taken over by the radical Islamic General Zia-ul-Haq. She continues her education at the American Embassy school, where she is best friends with Lizzy, whose father is a malaria expert at the Americ [...]

    14. City of Spies by Sorayya Khan is set in Islamabad in the late 1970s, a turbulent time for Pakistan. Primre Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto has been deposed by a general and is eventually hung. The U.S. Embassy is burned to the ground. There is personal tragedy as well in the home of Aliya Shah, an 11-year-old girl, who narrates the story. Her perspective is complicated: her father is Pakistani, her mother is Dutch, and she attends the American School. Aliya is just at the age where she questions everyt [...]

    15. Sorayya Khan’s novels seem to get better and better. City of Spies is the second of her novels that I have read (and now I need to go out and get Five Queen’s Road!).Through the eyes of a young “half-and-half”, an adolescent girl of mixed Dutch and Pakistani parentage who isn’t sure in which world she really belongs, we meet characters from both the East and the West whose multifaceted participation in personal and international tragedies slowly reveal their complexity. But never compl [...]

    16. I was interested in this book because its setting is a time and place (1979, Pakistan) that I don't know much about. From that perspective, my knowledge did expand a bit, but it's hard to really delve into events when they are all filtered through the eyes of a twelve-year-old. There is a lot of "I heard my father tell" and "My mother explained that" And because she is only twelve, her role doesn't move beyond observer (and spy).Some of the things that happen in the story are horrific, and the y [...]

    17. This is story about identity, family, and politics. What makes us who we are? Where should our loyalty lie? The unique perspective, from that of a child, that begins an uncertain journey of an outsider, that continues to question the why's of her existence, and covers topics as varied as national identity, government politics, riots, and family bonds; it manages to seamlessly weave all these pieces together and give closure in the end. Wonderful descriptions that draw me in. Written from the per [...]

    18. Two Stars - It was okay.I won a free copy of this book in a Giveaway. I was interested in this book mostly for the subject matter. I don't know much if anything about Pakistan in the late 1970s. I'm always interested in learning about new places and times and the history. So, I was excited to receive this book.I was disappointed with the narration. A LOT of telling and not showing. There were unnecessary details to explain why characters did certain things and it bogged me down. If the author w [...]

    19. This a novel that gets credit for reaching high, yet falls short in its prosaic narrative. City of Spies tells the story of a 12 year old half-Pakistani girl against the backdrop of upheaval in Islamabad in the late 1970s. The political machinations are breathtaking, but the girl's story is so rooted in her own personal life that the two stories almost feel as if they are happening independently. A 12 year old struggling to understand the world around her can be fascinating. But geopolitics filt [...]

    20. The book was interesting to start, but just didn't seem to go anywhere. It is typical narration of events in war torn countries, and the only unique quality is the main characer is mixed race. She is conflicted as to whether she wants to be European or Pakistani, and is troubled by the class system when a diplomats wife accidentally kills her servants child and there are few repercussions. She is still upper class no matter what race she tries to pass as, and has to deal not only between the whi [...]

    21. SO, it started good and there were moments that I got engaged and really thought it was going somewherebut then nothing. I guess that's the risk with reading someones memoirs. I didn't think it was very exciting. Something does happen very early on that is a big deal, but for me, that was the climax. SO, everything after that was kind of wha wha.Nonetheless, easy to read, and nice to see a perspective of someone growing up with a multi-culture background in another country. It just didn't have e [...]

    22. I loved this novel. It brought me back to a time in my own adolescence when my family lived in Islamabad, the political turmoil of the time, and the diplomatic enclave of the city. Sorayya Khan did a great job capturing the historic tensions, the characters that populate the story, and the setting. The characters in this novel were real to me, and the conflicts rang true. I did not want to put this novel down, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Anyone who lived in Pakistan in the late 70s w [...]

    23. This autobiographical novel set in Pakistan in the 1970s is a great read. This is mostly because of the author's clear, spare journalistic style. Every detail is important. Seen in hindsight through the eyes of the child the turbulent, yet oddly humorous as well, world of Pakistan under General Zia, is brought vividly alive. The author straddles two cultures but is definitely Pakistani. The personal tragedy at the base of the novel is poignantly unfolded. The people are real in more ways than on [...]

    24. I found this book a little hard to read and follow initially as I had no background of the topic. I am however glad I stuck with it, and it became hard to put down. It was a great view into the life of a young woman in Islamabad. I found the ending truly fabulous. Everything seemed to come full circle in an unexpected way. I am very glad I was given the opportunity to read this book

    25. Life in Pakistan in the late 1970s It's the story of a young Pakistani-Dutch girl in the late 70s and her observations of the worlds around her -- from living as a "half & half" in Pakistan, her attendance at the American school, her family life and how she starts to see the larger world around her.

    26. Interesting story based on the authors life, growing up in Pakistan during the 1970’s with all the political turmoil. Her father was Pakistani and her mother Dutch who converted to Islam. She attends an American school, so has experiences with Americans as well as entrenched in Pakistani life. Very informative from a different perspective.

    27. Surprisingly good! I had no expectations of this book, but I was not disappointed at all. It was well written, never dragged on and I really liked the main character. She was very relatable and so very normal, that I really enjoyed seeing her world through her eyes. I did not know much about Pakistan in the 70s and now have an idea how life was then. Recommended!

    28. I was in college at the time in history when this was occurring. It was a nice reminder of the way things were and somewhat of an explanation since I was so wrapped up in my studies I was a peripheral observer.

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