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Fidali's Way

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  240 ratings  ·  45 reviews
"Disillusioned with American life, Nicholas Sunder has spent months backpacking through South Asia, most recently in the company of a beautiful French woman he met in India. When the woman is found brutally murdered in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, Nick is arrested and tortured by the Pakistani police, who are convinced he is the killer. Amazingly, Nick escapes their custo ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Scribner (first published 2009)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  240 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A terrific, taut, and timely tale. While the novel approaches the pace of a thriller and solves all its mysteries, it is much more than a mere whodunit, defying easy categorization. While it is thoroughly entertaining as an adventure story, you will take away from it and carry with you a new lens through which to view the ideological conflicts of our times and perhaps your own struggles as well.

With awesome descriptive and emotive power--and nary a wasted word--Mastras takes us to the top of th
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2009
This book worked well on so many levels. It starts with a murder, with the protagonist, Nick, accused, a daring escape and then a brutal trek through a rugged land wraught with both danger and beauty. Although the story begins in Pakistan, the real development is in Kashmir, where we gain insights into clashing cultures, religions and philosophies. One of the most interesting voices is Ghulam, who, along with Fidali, serves as Nick's guide through the rugged terrain and it is through their inter ...more
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Weavre by: Vine
Is it possible that this richly textured literary tour de force is the author's first novel?

George Mastras breathes life into his characters and settings, creating a work of fiction that contains a considerable amount of truth. He spent several years traveling the Himalayas, Karakorams, and Hindu Kush, and brings a firsthand familiarity with the Pakistan/India borderlands in which he sets his novel. The complex characters are deeply human, with unique strengths and weaknesses, quirks and backgr
Jan 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This novel is an emotional and engaging read, both beautifully written and thought provoking. It’s also a timely and gripping page-turner that takes place in the cauldrons of modern-day terrorism - the tribal areas of Pakistan and Kashmir. I like that it deals with India and Pakistan in a current time frame (so many novels concern colonial India, so this is a refreshing change).

The novel essentially follows Nick, an American expat who finds himself in trouble with the Pakistani police after his
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fidali's Way, a debut novel by George Mastras, is more than an exciting adventure story set in some of the most exotic - and treacherous - regions of the world, it's a gripping tale that takes American traveler Nick Sunder (and the reader) upon a harrowing odyssey leading to his eventual awakening and transformation. Disillusioned with the American way of life, Nick has aimlessly traveled the globe in search of finding meaning to his life, a goal that hopelessly eludes him. In Pakistan, he desce ...more
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
George Mastras is a true storyteller. 'Fidali's Way' completely transported me - as great art can do.
I don't consider myself a voracious reader, but these pages flew by for me. the author's bio mentions
that he spent a considerable amount of time trekking throughout the region where the story takes place (the Himalayas), and this comes through in the writing. his observational sense of the essential human nature of people from both the east and west - how they interact, understand and can confu
Backpack Reader
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Backpack by: found it on amazon review list
This was one that I could could not put down for three days until I finished it. As someone who have traveled through the Himalayas, this novel does it justice by bring out the beauty of the mountains and more importantly the complexities of the politics and cultures. The plot is based on an engaging whodunit mystery, love triangle romance and more importantly envelops the reader in an intellectual journey in learning more about the cultures that is the foundation of present day conflicts in the ...more
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. I felt like I could see the mountains and villages Nick was travelling through by the author's rich descriptions of the characters and landscape - like Corelli's Mandolin. I'm a mystery fan too and recommend it highly on that level as well. This book has a lot to offer and it does so across many genres. ...more
Manoj Solanki
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
It transports you to the physical world through the choice of words made by the author.
Clay Kallam
May 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
It is a bleak world, no doubt, and there is value in communicating the depths of the grim and brutal reality to readers. For that, "Fidali's Way" deserves credit.

For me, though, this was a very hard read. There is plenty of blood, plenty of violence, plenty of pain, all written about in excruciating detail. (This, of course, is OK for our society; but similar descriptions of the act of love are considered pornography. I guess it's good to wallow in the flow of blood and the breaking of bones in
Helen Caldwell
Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love a book I can’t wait to get back to. Fidali’s Way not only enhanced my vocabulary but also broadened my understanding and comprehension of events occurring in the Middle East today, generating a compassion for all those in the region forced to endure their current circumstances. Neither all black nor all white, the book reflects the many shades of gray that live in between.

I loved the rich text of description and was quite happy Mastras didn’t feel the need to dumb it down to satisfy the l
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fidali's Way is a riveting adventure story of Nick, an American backpacker, who accidentally kills a Pakistani police officer investigating the murder of another backpacker. In fleeing Pakistan, Nick meet two travelers, Fidali and Ghulam, who are homeward bound with cigarettes to sell in their isolated village in the Himalayas. They help Nick make the treacherous journey across the Himalayas while avoiding the Mushahadeen educated in Pakistani-funded madrassas and India's border guards. The book ...more
Apr 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I learned about the geography and politics of the region and about the conflicts surrounding the whole Kashmir issue - Indian held Kasmir and the northern portion controlled by Pakistan.

The detailed descriptions of the terrain and landscape of the area - Hindu Kush, Karakorams, the Vale of Kashmir, are very interesting.

What kept me moving through this very detailed book, however, were the two love stories and the inevitability of their being intertwined in the plot of the novel.

I have written
Jan 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Until now, I have been occupied with finishing some of the other books I had been reading. I began yesterday reading Fidali's Way in earnest. All I can say is WOW. If you like Kite Runner and A Thousand Spendid Suns, you will definitely like this book. It is so well crafted that I just want to keep reading and do nothing else. ...more
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
A first book by Mastra, and pretty impressive. As was true of People of the book, I found the author's portrayal of female characters less convincing than of the male characters. It is a combination thriller, survival story, expose of Taliban methods of brainwashing youth, and love story. Takes place in Pakistan, Kashmir and the Tribal Controlled territories. Worth the read. ...more
Apr 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a gripping page-turner with interesting political commentary on extremist Muslims in Pakistan and Kashmir seamlessly woven in. Not subtle, not written in gorgeous prose-- it' s a muscular work with a strong story line. Not your standard trade paperback for the book group but definitely fascinating and worth a read. ...more
Don & Marge Miller
A book worth reading. It takes place on the Afghan/Pakistani border and deals with the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Although fiction, what is written probably happens all the time in real life. Glad I read it.
Jun 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully entertaining. Reminded me of Paulo Coehlo with less religion. Enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Holy crap, this book is so good and suspenseful! I read it in 4 days, its written by the guy that helped write and produce Breaking Bad. It's a story about an American man who gets charged with murder in Pakistan. He has to go on a crazy journey across the border into Kashmir to escape! Its a nailbiter! ...more
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very good book centered around Mideast conflicts. Provides a lot of insight into the animosity between Muslims and Hindus.
switterbug (Betsey)
Fidali's Way is a mixed bag. It is a book I immensely enjoyed, as Mastras is a rich storyteller and paces the events well to keep the pages turning and the tension taut and ripe. However, it is also uneven in significant ways that undermine some of its strengths.

Two narrative threads converge. First we meet Nick Sunder, a disillusioned American lawyer who has been backpacking in perilous areas of Central Asia for several years. Encountering a couple along the way--a brazen French woman and her
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Well-written first novel about an American fugitive who finds redemption - through people who already get it - during his experiences in wartorn Kashmir. Complex and wise on so many levels and filled with humanity, this marvellous book made me confront my own prejudices. Thrilling, romantic, and profound, this story would be an excellent choice for a book club discussion. Through the main character's catharsis, I felt a catharsis of my own. Bodhisattvas, like terrorists, can be found anywhere (e ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is hands down one of the best novels that I have ever read. I stumbled upon this
novel as I was watching a roundtable discussion of the screenwriters for the popular
AMC TV series Breaking Bad. the author G Mastras was on of the writers and this book was mentioned.
This novel is skillfully developed from start to finish with no weak sections in the entire book.
Mastras weaves together characters and plots in an amazingly logical way such that you never doubt why they cross paths. The plot cente
Sep 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was not expecting all that much, but this was my book club selection, so I read it. I thought that the Nick/Yvette story was unnecessary and added little to the book. Once I saw that Nick and Ayshe appeared to have feelings for each other, I thought the remainder of the book might be a love story between them and little else of substance. Of course, I was quite incorrect in my assumptions. I had not read a review of the book, so all that happened from there on was a surprise for me. I felt tha ...more
Pamela Pickering
May 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
4.25 stars. I really enjoyed this one. It had many elements: adventure, cultural diversity, religious philosophy, and redemption. Of course, it can get a little frustrating at times because one of the main character can be fairly stupid but still the story will hook you and keep you there for the whole book. One thing I liked about the book was that it just didn't focus on one character but highlighted a total of three which gave it a deeper dimension. Not quite a 5 star read though becauses it ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
OK. It is another "trekking across hostile places" book. Who would think I can find so many with this genre?

The main story is about Nick. His girlfriend (maybe more lover than girlfriend) is murdered. The Pakistani police think he did it. Nick escapes their prison and treks across Kashmir

(I can't say/type that word without singing the Led Zeppelin song. Music is now playing in my head).

Nick meets two smugglers (Fidali and Ghulam) along the way who help him. Fidali is a mysterious man, hence th
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Starts out as a thriller, ends up as a spiritual quest. Got a bit bogged down in spots - not sure if it was my fault or the author's. And some of the plot points seemed very predictable. But overall, I liked it and I'm glad I stuck with it to the end.

One thing that really annoyed me was the almost useless map in the front of the book. I bookmarked it with a Post-It so I could refer to it easily, but almost none of the places visited in the book are on the map! (Okay, I understand that the villag
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, this book goes way beyond a travelogue of the Himalayas. I initially thought it would be an adventure story and wasn't particularly interested in the "war zone" aspects of it. But it goes way beyond the headlines of "adventure" and "war" and takes you deep into the hearts and minds of its characters, like all good fiction does. And as a bonus, it's filled with lush, dense descriptions of the world in which it takes place. ...more
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Fidali's Way left me speechless. This is a beautiful novel, but more so, it truly is a way of "being." It is also a thriller in a sense, but only in that its action is a way of drawing the reader along the path to the true message of the book. Death, Rebirth of the Self, the Senselessness of War, Beauty of Earth and Natural Cycle, Love and Selflessness in so many manifestations all are presented against the backdrop of the Hindu Kush. ...more
Jan 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Bit preachy for me but a compelling story nonetheless. Author ends chapters with a little too pat platitude, not trusting the reader to draw her own conclusions. Still, the ongoing stife in the Kashmir/India/Pakistan/Afghan region makes this an interesting read.
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George Mastras has worked as a criminal investigator for the public defender service, a counselor at a maximum security juvenile correctional facility, and a litigator in New York and Los Angeles. After ten years of practicing law, he quit his job, sold his belongings, and spent several years backpacking around the globe and trekking in the Himalayas, Karakorams, and Hindu Kush. Aside from writing ...more

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