Published Date: Feb 26, 2012
AYESHA SALMAN?S DEBUT NOVEL ?BLUE DUST? MAKING WAVES
Seldom does one see a fresh author come out of their shell ‘guns blazing’ so to speak. However, Ayesha Salman’s debut novel, Blue Dust, is one of a kind; passionate yet realistic, while dealing with some of our greatest fears.
Through Blue Dust, we engage in the lives of the members of three generations of a Pakistani family, through whom Ayesha tells extraordinary stories of love, loss, companionship, hope, fear and ultimately, fate. At the same time, she manages to explore issues that are present in any society, namely class, values, religious differences and repression. These qualities make this novel perfect for its time.
There are only a handful of writers out there who have the courage to deal with some of the “hidden” issues of our society. Ayesha has cemented her place as one of them. Through the lives of her characters in Blue Dust, she ultimately explores the depths of a society that in a strange manner perpetuates but also suppresses and ignores sex related issues including homosexuality and paedophilia.
At the centre of the book is Zaib, a sensitive and full-hearted woman who struggles throughout the book to find her own place in life. She’s passionate, raw, volatile and child-like. She loves with all her heart, but her insecurities and confusions regarding her relations and the world at large, bring her to a point where she loses much of her own identity. As a young girl she grows up idolising her father. Her mother is a woman she herself can never figure out. And her parents love is something she only sees in snippets and hears about in stories. Being the daughter of a Muslim man and a Christian woman, she never quite feels like she “belongs” and it’s not until she meets a servant girl and they become friends that she finally starts to feel complete. She loses much of all she gains, and eventually it is her deep bond with her sister that becomes the theme of the book. Even through marriage to a person she loves and even after having children, it’s her sister that Zaib’s world seems to revolve around. It is the strength of this bond that ultimately has a great impact on her life, personality and all of her relationships.
Alya, her daughter, also plays an important role in the book. Unlike her mother, she’s perceptive and calm and her story is more focused on her family and mistakes of lust and love. She’s a spectator in her mother’s story, because that is the part that Zaib places her in. But even then she reads and perceives so much regarding everything around her and ultimately becomes one of the core characters in the book.
At its heart, Blue Dust is an emotional drama dealing with the relationships, decisions and fears of its characters. It can be soft and touchy and at the same time there are moments when it’s harsh and bloody.
It shows human nature in a wide variety of ways, and shows how certain events can shape personalities and how personality eventually leads to uncontrollable happenings. In short, it’s a map of life and its many moods, colours and uncertainties. In plain words, it is simply a brilliant read.