A Pair of Jeans

A Pair of Jeans & Other Stories
Qaisra Shahraz



What do your clothes say about your values and attitudes to other things in life? If you are dressed in western clothes will you also have western attitudes to elders, to marriage, and the underlying implication to having a western approach to sexuality and social mores. In some ways a lot has changed in British Pakistani society but this fundamental dilemma is still there and well depicted in the lives of the protagonists in these stories.

In this vibrant and moving collection of short stories by award winning author Quaisra Shahraz, she demonstrates yet again her abilities for storyline and plot which are always gripping  -  The Elopement, The Discovery and Pair of Jeans focus on the issues facing young Pakistani Muslim women as they work out how to live in a world where traditional and Western values clash. Can they create a synthesis? Miriam in a Pair of Jeans discovers that a seeming innocuous item of clothing can cause disaster while Rubiya in The Elopement and The Discovery pays the price of rejection for her past misdeed. In The Zemindar’s Wife and Perchanvah the reader opens a window into a world of feudal lifestyle and class consciousness that is embedded in the psyche of many of the country’s inhabitants. Other stories – Escape and the City Dwellers explore the feelings of those struggling to discover the meaning of “home”. The Malay Host is a contrast with an element of the mysterious. What is behind the one locked door in the old Malay house that is a tourist attraction and why is the woman of the house brandishing a piece of burning wood at the Western visitors?

Short Stories | ISBN: 9781908446176 | eBook


Qaisra Shahraz

Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Qaisra Shahraz, is a prize-winning and critically acclaimed novelist and scriptwriter. Her three novels, Typhoon, Holy Woman and Revolt have been translated into several languages. Born in Pakistan, she has lived in Manchester (UK) since childhood. Qaisra was nominated for the Asian Women of Achievement Awards and for The Muslim News Awards for Excellence. In 2012 she was named one of the 100 influential women on the Pakistan Women Power 100 list.

Also by Qaisra Shahraz

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'A Pair of Jeans and Other Storiesis Shahraz's first collection of stories which consists of beautifully and elegantly crafted stories teeming with damsels and village superstitions, scandals and zamindars, lovers and misfortune and muslim worlds in turmoil and transition. She renders rural and ethnic backgrounds with great skill and dexterity.

The book is a must read for all those who love to delve in pristine old worlds which are fast losing identity in the globalized world of today. Shahraz displays great skill as a storyteller as she keeps the reader hooked on worlds real and imagined that she creates out of diaspora.
Sami Rafiq, Associate Professor Department of English Faculty of Arts, Aligarh Muslim University, India.
'Qaisra Shahraz movingly depicts the tensions for those caught between cultures old and new. Characters struggle with the concept of homeland, relationships between generations, and changing roles for women, and often triumph. A subtle and important insight.’
Elizabeth Baines, Author of The Birth Machine (Salt)
'I had the chance and happiness to meet Qaisra Shahraz in Manchester in 2012. She offered me her book "The holy woman", and I discovered her talent of speaking about delicate questions related to women issues. Especially women torn between eastern and western cultures. At a time when Muslim fundamentalists are trying to convince women that equality between women and men is a sin, a treason, a false value because it's western culture imposed by ex colonizers, these questions of free will and individual freedom have never been more important and sometimes dangerous for women. To wear or not to wear veil, divorce or not divorce…. happiness or tradition… Can a simple pair of jeans worn by an Anglo-Pakistani girl hide clash between civilizations ? How to be free, feminist and Muslim at the same time? In Kabul, Manchester, French suburbs, Tunis, Cairo, or Timbuktu, everywhere where men, traditional families oppress (or try to) their wives, daughters, sisters, this kind of questions is everywhere… and in the heart of Qaisra Shahraz books and work.'
Corine Goldberger, Journalist, Marie Claire, Paris 
'A superb storyteller whose voice is both specific and universal.  You invariably  root for Qaisra’s characters, feel the pain of their predicaments and finish her stories disappointed those stories have to end.  I would  always recommend Qaisra’s stories to someone torn between cultures.  Whole lives can change from one reading of her stories. She is a writer at the height of her powers.'
Pete Kalu,  Artistic Director, Commonword
'What a success story for Qaisra - As a teacher, I have read "A Pair of Jeans"by Qaisra Shahraz with hundreds of students in the context of A-level exams in baden-württemberg. I must say that we have had lively discussions even enhanced by three visits that Qaisra paid to our school in Neuenbürg/Black Forest. Together with the impressive and teenager-touching story, we were given the opportunity to share first-hand information presented by Qaisra concerning topics such as integration, assimilation, Pakistani background, what life in Britain's multi-cultural society means ... . I can glowingly recommend the author's works as offering a vivid picture of young women striving to assert themselves. Her language is touching, poetic, graphic, humourous, warm-hearted and, if you have ever had the chance to listen to Qaisra in a real conversation, you can hear her "voice" as an ambassador of tolerance and humanity. The collection will be a tremendous chance for many people to have access to her other works by e-book for a very reasonable price.'
Five star review. Von Winfried Rohr on Amazon, Germany
'Qaisra Shahraz is in a position to bring to readers issues what most of us in the West are scarcely aware of at such a human level. She has the ability to bring East and West together through her writing.'
Jane Camens, Executive Director Asia Pacific Writers & Translators, Australia

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