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Season of the Rainbirds

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  363 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Set during a monsoon season in the 1980s in a small town in Pakistan, Season of the Rainbirds is centred on the mysterious reappearance of a sack of letters lost in a train crash nineteen years previously. Could the letters have any bearing on Judge Anwar’s murder? The letters and the judge’s death trigger a series of tragic events and as the murder investigation progresse ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Faber and Faber (first published January 1st 1993)
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Feb 28, 2014 rated it liked it
this is nadeem aslam's first novel and it doesn't have the linguistic dreaminess of his later ones. i enjoyed it but couldn't help a constant comparison with his other work. it's set in a small pakistani town at a time when all hell is breaking loose in the rest of the country. it touches on the changing nature of islam (or maybe the constant tension in islam between common sense and lovingness, and oppression) and on the dirty intrigues of local government. it touches on the delicate play betwe ...more
Harsha Priolkar
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Hmmm...apparently Maps for Lost Lovers from the same author was all the rage...but this his debut novel, while showing promise was a rather disjointed experience for me. The prose is eloquently descriptive as Aslam skilfully narrates the routine in a small village in Pakistan, but where I was disappointed was in what I perceived as a lack of depth in exploring the characters that peopled said village. So even as events proceeded to their rather obvious conclusions (perhaps obvious to me because ...more
Dee at EditorialEyes
3/5. For this and other book reviews, interviews, and more, visit EditorialEyes Book Blog.

A small village in 1980s Pakistan might seem to be a quiet setting, but much is going on beneath the surface in Nadeem Aslam’s Season of the Rainbirds, even before several major events rock the community. First, a well-known and corrupt judge is murdered, and then a sack of letters that went missing in a train crash nineteen years previously suddenly reappears. What is in the letters, and what buried sec
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, pakistan
3.5/5. Rather amorphous, atmosphere-drenched novel of the people in a small village in Pakistan. From mention of "The General" and the attempt on his life, I assumed it was the Pakistan of Zia ul Haq. Quite different from what I thought it would be: a murder mystery on the death of a corrupt judge and how a bag of mail lost for 19 years but eventually found had influence on the solution. I was wrong; the mailbag was an anticlimax having nothing to do with the murder, and culprit was found early ...more
rubina brar
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I was attracted to the beautiful and colorful cover of this book in the local bookshop and then seeing that it was by a Pakistani author, one that I had not yet read, I immediately bought it of course. Pakistani authors have a way of writing that is beautiful and compelling at the same time. Though they most often write of tragedies and human atrocities, as is the case with Season Of The Rainbirds, but they write in such beautiful words, in language that flows like poetry.

For this reason itself,
Wasio Abbasi
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Season of the Rainbirds is Nadeem Aslam's first novel and he has thoroughly explored life of a small town of Pakistan. Set in Zia Ul Haq's era, around the time when the General's plane survived attack from Murtaza Bhutto's Al-Zulfiqar, the story focuses on the lives of few characters immediately after the death of a retired judge in town.
Maulana Hafeez is the tolerant cleric of the town, in stark contrast to the extremism Maulana Dawood. He is the problem solver and self-appointed modesty watchm
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was Nadeem Aslam's first novel, but I first discovered him when I read (and later ringed) his second novel - Maps for Lost Lovers - which I thought was wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed this one too.

This beautifully written novel centres on the inhabitants of a small town and: the discovery of a sack of letters, missing for 19 years, the murder of Judge Anwar, and an affair between Muslim deputy Commissioner and a young christian woman. These different plot strands are subtely woven together,
Vivek Tejuja
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It had been a while since I had read, “Season of the Rainbirds” by Nadeem Aslam and almost forgotten how much I loved it. I had just finished “The Blind Man’s Garden” and thought of going back to this one. To relive the reading experience and ironically enough I loved it more this time than I had the last time. Every writer’s first novel according to me gives the most insight to the kind of writer he or she will become and I believe in it to a very large extent. The first novel almost shapes the
Jane E
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, pakistani
Well written but unfinished. Supposedly about a bag of letters undelivered for 19 years but individual letters are few and far between in the story and uninteresting or unbelievable the two times when they are described. There are ancillary characters with no story development and no apparent reason for being included. In the end everything is left hanging with no real conclusions. Definitely not ready for publication. Disappointing.
Lorina Stephens
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Season of the Rainbirds was Nadeem Aslam's debut novel, first published in 1993, and a dramatic, well-crafted novel it is, taking two literary awards, the Betty Trask and the Author's Club First Novel Award.

There is an understated control to Aslam's narrative, chronicling the murder of a corrupt Pakistani judge and the seemingly unrelated discovery of missing postal bags of letters from a train crash 19 years earlier.

Within this mystery are two men, one spiritual, one investigative, charged wi
Pep Bonet
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel-la, anglesa-pk
I really liked this book. I was afraid because, although I came to it through a recommendation by a trusted source, so many Goodreads reviewers found that the story was incomplete. They were expecting answers to the open questions. Well, my point is that they missed the point completely. The point is not who killed the judge or what happens to this and that. The point is the horrible environment created in Pakistan by all post-independence regimes, and worsened under the General rule. Religious ...more
Anne Tucker
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
I found this book much more difficult than his other books that I love - especially the brilliant 'Wasted Vigil' that everyone should read! This was his first book i gather, so maybe he was getting into how he wanted to show Pakistan to Western readers. Some of the writing is especially lyrical (I read the introductory chapter to my ESOL learners, several of whom are from Pakistan, and they really enjoyed it) but i found I got very confused between all the characters and kept thinking a lot more ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-extra
I loved this book, and his other one set among Pakistani immigrants to the UK: Maps For Lost Lovers. Both books are character driven and the author is very good at characters, even his least sympathetic characters evoke a certain amount of sympathy once you understand them.
The plot of this, his first novel, is a little weak. It is sufficient to give a structure to contain the characters, but little more than that. His second is much more accomplished and I really wanted to know the story as well
Sep 26, 2015 rated it liked it
The book is about life in a small Pakistani village. Quite beautifully written, it describes how people from the village are affected by religion and politics in their daily lives. Maulana Hafeez, a cleric, is not able to come to terms with modernisation in his village or even the changing social norms. A Deputy Commisioner, a barber, a cleric, a sweeper, an Ahmediya teacher, a Christian maid and mistress, a lawyer, a butcher, a local landowner, all protagonists of this wonderful book, are affec ...more
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Surprisingly, Maulvi's character in a book written in English by a Pakistani writer turns out to be grey than black, which is a normal practice among most of Pakistani writers who write in English for readers outside Pakistan. This book does points out to problems that have roots in religious fundamentalism like mistreatment of minorities, but it does not blame Maulvis (the easy scapegoat!).

Nadeem Aslam writing style is interestingly suitable for drama / movie writing. I think that this novel ca
May 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Season of the Rainbirds is centred on the mysterious reappearance of a sack of letters lost in a train crash nineteen years previously.

I've read the whole book and I'm still waiting the story centered around a rediscovered sack of letters that stir trouble up. The blurb-writer llliiieesss.

(view spoiler)
Danial Tanvir
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nadeem Aslam is a very good writer and I loved this novel.
it was short .
it revolves around a guy called "Maulana Hafeez"and that's how the novel starts.
it is based in some rural village in Pakistan in the 1980's.

it is about some letters lost in a train crash which happened 19 years ago.

and could this have some connection with judge Anwars murder?.

it is a book about Muslims and he talks a lot about Maualana Hafeez.

I enjoyed reading this book and read it in a couple of hours the ending how ever wa
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
If you want to know what it is like to live in a Muslim country, this is the book for you. We are taken to a small village in Pakistan and introduced to what an ordinary life is like there, even though a general has been killed at the onset of the book. We learn of the Muslim rules of how to live and the unacceptance of Christians, the fears and the gossiping, knowing of other people's business, and the powerful in the village. Thank God we live in America!
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in Aslam's signature poetic style, the story had me captivated. I wish the ending had had more of an impact on me, like 'Maps' and 'Wasted Vigil' did. But nevertheless, the story had me spellbound, as he usually does. Like with most of his novels, the rain, the water lizards, the letters, all these elements are like characters in the story, having a life of their own. That's the beauty of his writing! You can see every scene, see every bit, right before your eyes...
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the first Nadeem Aslam I've read and though I loved the writing, I was simply confused by who was who, which made it a struggle to read. In the end, I stopped trying to work out who the characters were and just enjoyed the words.
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
I liked the slice-of-life feeling of the village and characters but there was no action or plot. Which is ok except the idea of the mail delivered many years after Partition was a great device and the author dropped the ball on that.
Praveen Palakkazhi
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Nadeem Aslam's first book, though I had read it after his amazing second book. My expectations were probably high, but I somehow could not get involved in this tale set in Pakistan among another close knit community. I would suggest reading his great second book, Maps for Lost Lovers, though.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
This started out as a good book. The characters and story draw you in. However, there is no resolution to the plot lines which is extremely frustrating. I rarely don't recommend books but I wouldn't really recommend this one.
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
I didnt expect this from Nadeem Aslam, as I really liked his work in the form his book " The wasted wigil". But this book really disappointed me, I dont know what the author was trying get at in this one...
Natalia Saeed
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Story of a small time - which I could picture perfectly in my mind but what frustrated me was that we never got a chance to read any of the 'missing letters'!! I liked the small town characters but excepted some sort of conclusion of the 'mess' towards the end.
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
Like all Nadeem Aslam books, it had a very lyrical quality. Descriptions of nature and inane things were beautiful. It is about Pak society where people are governed by religion and strictures. Yet rich and corrupt survive.
Elyse NG
J'ai aimé l'idée à la base de tout, mais c'était difficile de suivre le fil et rester accrocher aux histoires qui s'entremêlaient. aussi, technicalité, j'ai trouvé embêtant de toujours devoir consulter le glossaire à la fin pour les mots en Ourdou ( vs une note en bas de page)
Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Not my favorite of his novels (his first), but still a fun read. Personally, I think that his writing matures significantly since this one. I would more recommend Maps for Lost Lovers or The Wasted Vigil.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Enjoyed reading it but to be honest I had higher expectations from this book. Aslam wrote it well but it kept comparing his writing with naps of lost lovers which was far more rich in context compared to seasons of the rainbird. Overall, still enjoyed reading it.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it
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Aslam was born in Pakistan in 1966 and moved to Britain at age 14. His family left Pakistan to escape President Zia's regime.

His novel Maps for Lost Lovers, winner of the Kuriyama Prize, took him more than a decade to complete. Aslam has stated that the first chapter alone took five years to complete, and that the following story in the book took seven months to complete before rejecting it. At th
More about Nadeem Aslam...

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“We walk past the house with the blue door. It has been made clear to us that we are to walk quietly by this house, never accept an invitation to step inside, never return the smile of the woman of the house, nor glance at the old man who sometimes looks out of the upstairs window; at our peril are we to be tempted by the flowers lying under the eaves, or by the figs that the storms shake loose. But our shadows dare each other. One of them is foolish enough to climb on to the doorstep but is pulled away just before it can reach the door bell.” 2 likes
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