Soniah Kamal is an award-winning novelist, essayist and public speaker. Her most recent novel, Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan, is a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, a New York Public Library, an NPR Code Switch 2019 Summer Read Pick and a Georgia Center for the Book’s 2019 pick for ‘Books All Georgians Should Read.’ Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Award for Fiction and the KLF French Fiction.
Soniah's TEDx talk is about second chances and her Keynote Address at a U.S. Citizenship Oath Ceremony talks about the real American Dreams. Soniah's work has appeared in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed and more. Soniah grew up in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and England and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Unmarriageable: Pride and Prejudice in Pakistan
Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.
A scandal and vicious rumor concerning the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and have children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire the girls to dream of more.
When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat, certain that their luck is about to change, excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for rich, eligible bachelors. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of Fahad “Bungles” Bingla, the wildly successful—and single—entrepreneur. But Bungles’s friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways. As the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.
Told with wry wit and colorful prose, Unmarriageable is a charming update on Jane Austen’s beloved novel and an exhilarating exploration of love, marriage, class, and sisterhood.
Praise for Unmarriageable
“This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms.”—People
“A fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.”—NPR
“Delightful . . . Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture. . . . [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes.”—Star Tribune
“Thoroughly charming.”—New York Post
“[A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)