A jolly afternoon. Omer, Zara, and Tara – three siblings running without a care on the village fields and playing hide and seek. Suddenly, the game becomes too real. Omer and Zara can’t find Tara. They shout her name, they run here and there, but can’t find her. Evening draws in with dreadful news.
Their parents whisper.
They don’t let Omer and Zara see her. Tara is unexpectedly married to a man from the city which seems to resolve the tension in their house. However, some days later, a newspaper clipping emerges about the man Tara has been married to. Zara is determined to rescue her twin. With Omer’s help, she hatches a dangerous plan to not only rescue Tara but also seek justice for her. Will Zara succeed? Read Beyond the Fields by Ayesha Baqir to find out.
Baqir’s Beyond the Fields is a hard-hitting novel about violence against women and their resilience to such subjugation.
Set against the backdrop of onset of martial law in Pakistan, the book explores its impact on one half of its population. It’s a story of oppression but is also a story of hope and courage. Ridiculous notions of honor are attached to a woman’s body. However, a man is free to be a monster.
The novel explores what happens when this notion is challenged by a brave young girl. Does this aggravate her situation, or does it liberate her? Although the author must be applauded for dealing with such a heavy topic sensibly and in an engaging manner, in my humble opinion, this topic has been dealt with in numerous books and films in far greater depth. As a result, I wasn’t deeply touched by this book.
Beyond the Fields is recommended for readers eager to understand the cultural and social dynamics of the Indian subcontinent, and above all, to read a story that asks a woman to go after her dreams.
I reviewed this book for Readers’ Favorite. There are mentions of sexual assault in this book. Hence, proceed with caution.