Friday, April 30, 2010

The Marriage Bureau For Rich People-Farahad Zama

The Marriage Bureau For Rich People
Farahad Zama
Berkley, Jun 1 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425234242

In Kapu, India, Mr. Ali tried retirement only to find it tedious. Needing something to do as the ennui is fossilizing his brain, the bored Muslim opens up a marriage bureau. Mr. Ali is surprised to find his endeavor successful as clients seeking a mate that meets their stipulation flock to him. He hires Aruna, a single young woman from an impoverished Brahmin family.

Mr. and Mrs. Ali struggle with their activist son Rehman, who believes in human rights while Aruna tussles with an increasingly hostile situation at home. Ironically Aruna would prefer to be a client and knows who she wants, but being penniless that is a bitter unrequited dream becauseas the Romanian doctor accompanied by his family seeks a more suitable match.

This is a very reflective contemporary drama that digs deeply into modern India’s struggles with religious, gender and caste egalitarianism when the country has an institutionalized history of inequality. Yet even with these powerful topics, it is the cast who make the relationships work; as for instance Mr. Ali looks forward to his next fight with his son. Although many of the problems between people are resolved too easily and rapidly, fans will enjoy Mr. Ali’s pragmatic solutions to the age old problems of love vs. tradition.

Harriet Klausner

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