rafia_zakariaThe Upstairs Wife is an important testament to Pakistan’s political and individual family histories, says Mantra Roy in this review.

The Upstairs Wife by Rafia Zakaria. Beacon Press, 2015.

“Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in Rawalpindi,” whispers the narrator’s father into the phone, while the family is waiting for a relative’s health status at hospital. The Upstairs Wife (Beacon Press, 2015) takes readers on a swift journey through Pakistan’s political and social history via a personal, family history. Rafia Zakaria’s school-going Pakistani girl’s perspective provides a mysterious narrative voice. She observes her aunt’s marriage crumbling because of a Pakistani law that permitted Pakistani men to take legal second wives in the 1980s.

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