Seasonal Adjustments

Adib Khan, Author Allen & Unwin Australia $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-86373-652-7
Khan's first novel, the 1994 winner of Australia's NSW State Literary Award, is a thoroughly absorbing account of culture, family and faith told by a man who has a tenuous relationship with all three. Khan's narrator, Iqbal Chaudhary, left his native Bangladesh for Australia in the middle of the Pakistani Civil War. The novel begins 18 years later, when Chaudhary returns for the first time to his Muslim homeland. Reunited with his upper-class family, Chaudhary struggles with choices of culture and faith not only for himself but for the young daughter he brought with him. ``There are occasions,'' he says, ``when I regret my exposure to the diversity of cultural radiation which has bleached my individuality. I think I know how a travelling performer might feel in his private moments. Effortlessly I can slip into cultural roles.'' His Australian wife's sudden decision to opt for a trial separation adds to Chaudhary's sense of displacement. Kahn's literary background (he is the author of a book of criticism) serves him well, and he brings his novel to life with a ``multiplicity of meanings'' through particularly adept use of metaphor and symbolism. Kahn's imagery transcends culture, sex and faith, pulling readers into the heart of a character who is an alien in both his native land and his adopted country. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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