First Fiction Friday: Keepers of the Faith

June 19, 2020

Shaukat Ajmeri's first work of fiction Keepers of the Faith (Mawenzi House) brings us the story of star-crossed lovers Akbar and Rukhsana, who are driven out and apart by a strict priesthood within their community in Udaipur, India. Excommunicated, the two drift apart and spend years building their own separate existences, only to fatefully meet again years later to face the most difficult decision of their lives....

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The book: Keepers of the Faith (Mawenzi House, 2020) 

 

The author: Shaukat Ajmeri was born and educated in India. He worked as a journalist before coming to Canada and of late has started on a literary career. He is currently writing a collectioKen of short stories and a second novel. He lives in Mississauga, Ontario.

 

Why you need to read this now:

If a tragic love story is what you’ve been craving to read, then Keepers of the Faith by Shaukat Ajmeri is the next book to add to your TBR! With the tyranny of religion as a backdrop to events that have occurred in India, Shaukat’s debut novel with Romeo and Juliet-esque vibes is one that you don’t want to miss out on.

The novel follows the fates of two blissful young lovers, Akbar and Rukhsana, in the historic city of Udaipur. Their community is ruled strictly by a priesthood that demands absolute submission while enforcing archaic social customs. Once a small group rebels, including Akbar’s family, they are excommunicated and rejected from the community. Akbar goes on to become a writer and family man in Mumbai, while Rukhsana gets married to an immigrant engineer from the United States fanatically devoted to the priesthood. Years later, Akbar’s and Rukhsana’s paths cross again. Much has changed and much has not, and they are presented with soul-destroying choices about the rest of their lives.

An historical fiction novel is the perfect read no matter the season, and a touch of romance (or lack thereof) with a hint of danger will keep you on the edge of your seat as you learn more about India and root for Akbar and Rukshana.

 

X plus Y:

Keepers of the Faith has the page-to-screen feel of Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry meeting the deep characters of What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin.

 

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A big thank you to Mawenzi House and Shaukat Ajmeri for sharing Keeper's of the Faith with us.

Read on for more First Fiction Friday on the All Lit Up blog >>


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