Salt and Saffron, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Dard-e-Dils are known for their clavicles and love of stories.

The family is cursed by its not-quite twins, and Aliya, prey to her family's legends, begins to believe that she is another 'not-quite twin', cosmically connected with her aunt Mariam in a way that hardly bodes well.


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The "salt" of the title, with illustrious literary precedent, refers to that little ingredient which is hardly worthy of mention, but without which a meal is ruined - a metaphor for the unspoken aspects of well-told family stories. In one visit home to Karachi, Aliya, the narrator, finally comes to understand the story of her family history - and that understanding helps her make decisions about what she wants her own story to be. Salt and Saffron is Rushdie-lite in both its style and its theme of a family saga interwoven with the history of the subcontinent. It's not quite good enough for me to run round recommending it to people - for that it would need a little more heart, a little less head, and a slightly more convincing ending. But it was an interesting and enjoyable read, and I'll be looking out for how Shamsie's writing develops.

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