In modern, beautiful Green City, the capital of South West Asia, gender selection, war and disease have brought the ratio of men to women to alarmingly low levels. The government uses terror and technology to control its people, and women must take multiple husbands to have children as quickly as possible.
Yet there are women who resist, women who live in an underground collective and refuse to be part of the system. Secretly protected by the highest echelons of power, they emerge only at night, to provide to the rich and elite of Green City a type of commodity that nobody can buy: intimacy without sex. As it turns out, not even the most influential men can shield them from discovery and the dangers of ruthless punishment.
This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale about women’s lives in repressive Muslim countries everywhere. It takes the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender selection, and control over women’s bodies, amplifies and distorts them in a truly terrifying way to imagine a world of post-religious authoritarianism.
About the Author
Bina Shah is a writer of English fiction and a journalist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories, including Slum Child, which was a best seller in Italy. A regular contributor to the International New York Times, she is a provocative and bold commentator for the international press on Pakistan’s society, culture, and women’s rights. Her most recent novel, A Season for Martyrs, originally published by Delphinium in 2014, was published in France and India in 2016. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and an alum of the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa.
“A haunting dystopian thriller…Fans of The Handmaid's Tale won't want to miss this one.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Praise for A Season for Martyrs: “Riveting and articulate, A Season for Martyrs by Pakistani journalist Bina Shah is the author's debut novel for an American readership and clearly denotes her ability to deftly craft and complex story of suspenseful twists and unexpected turns that holds the reader's total attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists.”
— Buzzfeed, “10 Amazing Female Novelists Under 50”
“Shah writes with grace and fluency, and it is clear from the start that her book reflects a maturity in style and skill at plot-management that are the hallmarks of the seasoned writer. Shah writes about her native soil as only an insider can. What gives the novel additional warmth and luster is the manner in which she portrays legendary Sindhi heroes….Unlike some female writers, Shah demonstrates skill at authentically depicting a staggering variety of male characters. The ability to transfer masculinity to paper is a rare trait...A Season for Martyrs undoubtedly deserves much praise and will not disappoint readers.”
— Midwest Book Review
“Good reading, urgently and cleanly told, for those interested in world events, as well as issues of identity and place in community.”
— Library Journal, “Top Indie Fiction for Fall 2014”