I didn’t know it when the new year started, but I wanted woman-centered stories to be the theme of January’s book reviews. Women with agency. Smart, capable women who do not let their trauma impede their dreams. Women who carve out their own path against the one society has given them. Taking a page from Jasper Ffforde (see Lost in a Good Book, Book Review), I would love to see Hannah Payne (see When She Woke Book Review) and Nancy Drew (see Nancy Drew Series Book Review) sit down with Tara over a cup of tea and a plate of roti. Looking back, I think I needed a bit of courage to enter 2021. When the world is a terrifying place, like a wild boar in the cane field, I draw strength from the stories of powerful women who have gone before.
Wild Boar in the Cane Field follows the story of young Tara who, orphaned as a baby, is raised by the proprietress of a tiny village in Pakistan and her servant. Though there are strict customs regarding a woman’s life, Tara is brought up by two women who have seemingly found a loophole to live their lives by their own standards. The proprietress, Baba Saffiya, lived past her father and husband, and so is free to run her lands as she sees fit. Amman Bhaggan, though a servant, wields great power in Baba Saffiya’s house. Their shared widowhood has not condemned Baba Saffiya or Amman Bhaggan to a destitute life. With such role models, Tara learns to ask questions and to demand the promise of her dreams. Skirting religious and gender taboos, she becomes educated and forges her own path to freedom. Wild Boar in the Cane Field is an intriguing foray into Pakistan customs, culture, and people. To purchase this book, support your local, independent bookstore and check out Crawford's Books.
Go to Lost in a Good Book Blog to read the special interview with the author, Dr. Anniqua Rana!