No Funeral for Nazia

by Chandra Sundeep
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Cover picture of No Funeral for Nazia by Taha Kehar

How often do you judge a novel by its cover or title? Well, I have done it quite often and might continue to do so. The first thing that struck me about Taha Kehar’s No Funeral for Nazia was the title. It’s such a hook! Unfortunately, the story failed to live up to the promise set by the intriguing title.

Set in Pakistan, this story revolves around the themes of love, friendship, betrayal, adultery, and politics.

Nazia, a successful writer, has led an interesting life, challenging predefined norms. And even in her death, she has left a mark. In her last letter to her sister Naureen, she states her wish to have a party instead of a funeral after her death. Naureen is determined to fulfill her sister’s dying wish despite her husband’s opposition.

The party where the guests are Nazia’s ex-husband, daughter, closest friends, and the maid’s daughter takes an unexpected turn when Naureen announces the arrival of an unexpected guest. A hypnotherapist!

As the night proceeds, each guest spends time with the hypnotherapist. In a hypnotised stage, they reveal different aspects of their relationship with Nazia. Thus, we see Nazia’s story through their eyes.

Nazia, as the main protagonist, is as flawed as the rest of the characters. Even though she doesn’t speak for herself, we “see” her through the eyes of others. Her friends’ and family members’ stories of their interactions with her reveal various aspects of her life. Nazia and Naureen are better sketched than the rest of the characters.

While Kehar’s writing is engaging, most of the narration is in the form of monologues, and I found it a little daunting. There was no fresh perspective being shed, and the narration proceeded on predicted lines.

The novel is fast-paced, but the conclusion left me wanting. I was expecting more and was definitely disappointed by the end. There are too many things happening and the threads are not tied properly at the end.

Even the party didn’t make sense. Nazia could have still had her janaza and held a party later! The idea of “no funeral” didn’t add any great mystery.

Conceptually, the book deals with the profound topics of death and its impact on loved ones, the importance of closure, how a person is perceived by others, and how this perception shapes our views. But the lack of a strong connection with any character prevented me from enjoying it.

No Funeral for Nazia is a one-time read.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Neem Tree Press. This review reflects my honest and voluntary opinion.

 

Wordsopedia Rating 3/5

 

Title: No Funeral for Nazia Author: Taha Kehar
Publisher: Neem Tree Press Publication date: March 26, 2024
Genre: Fiction—Literary Format: eBook
ISBN: ‎978-1911107743 No. of Pages: 272

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the author

Taha Kehar is a journalist, literary critic and novelist. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of two novels, Typically Tanya (HarperCollins India, 2018) and Of Rift and Rivalry (Palimpsest Publishers, 2014).
Get in touch with the author on his website.

 

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