Blurb: On her first holiday in six years, Rumi is expecting to relax and unwind. But when she is set up by her long-time friend, she doesn’t shy away from the possibilities. Ahad, a charming, independent, self-made man, captures her imagination, drawing her away from her disapproving sister, Juveria.
Faced with sizzling chemistry and a meeting of the minds, Ahad and Rumi find themselves deep in a relationship that moves forward with growing intensity. But as her desire for the self-assured Ahad grows, Rumi struggles with a decision that will impact the rest of her life.
Confronted by her scandalized sister, a forbidding uncle and a society that frowns on pre-marital intimacy, Rumi has to decide whether to shed her middle-class sensibilities, turning her back on her family, or return to her secluded existence as an unmarried woman in Pakistan.
We follow Rumi from rainy London to a sweltering Karachi, as she tries to take control of her own destiny.
Review: Do Pakistani women think (and maybe act) like Indian women when it comes to love or are they different? What do the contemporary Pakistani women feel about pre-marital intimacy? These were just some of the questions that came to my mind when I read the blurb of Butterfly Season. Of course I wanted to know whether our sisters from across the border were really so different from us as sometimes we are led to believe. I’m glad I picked up the book because now I feel that Pakistan and India are not so different after all, at least not where we women are concerned.
Rumi and Ahad, the main characters, are easy to fall in love with. Their romance is fun and frothy & they share a great sexual chemistry. I was relieved that Ahmed didn’t fall in the trap of keeping sex-scenes in the book just to get high sales (as is the case nowadays) since so many books I read that try to talk about a woman’s choices/perspective do. Mahira comes across as a great friend, a friend everyone needs in his/her life, a strong pillar of support. Juveria, though easy to dislike, reminds me of so many women that try to guide all their actions and words according to norms set up by the society in order to please it, but turn up making their lives miserable. Ahmed has been able to create a great mix of characters, all taken from our contemporary society. The men folk needed a bit more work IMHO but the female characters all came out strong.
I liked the little glimpses the author has shown of contemporary Pakistan what with Urdu words strewn in, references to the pop culture, the Junoon-Vital signs debate etc. The author has used beautiful language in Butterfly season for example – “…Love and marriage are not synonymous. Every Pakistani girl knows that already.” There are many such ‘quotable quotes’ strewn across the book. I do wish Ahmed had delved a little deeper into Karachi, which was such an intrinsic part of Rumi. I wished to experience the city through its many colors, smells and sights but I felt something missing. I did identify with the heat though coming from Punjab myself.
Butterfly season is a quick read, hardly a hundred pages long and has some great thought provoking moments. I congratulate the author on talking about such a taboo topic like pre-marital sex and not come up as preachy or condescending. I thoroughly enjoyed Ahmed’s debut novella and would recommend it to Romance lovers all over the world. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars 🙂