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Review: A Beautiful Lie by Ifran Master

A Beautiful Lie by Ifran Master
Published by Bloomsbury
Challenges: None (read in 2010)
Source Review copy (UK paperback)

An extraordinarily rich debut novel, set in India in 1947 at the time of Partition. Although the backdrop is this key event in Indian history, the novel is even more far-reaching, touching on the importance of tolerance, love and family. The main character is Bilal, a boy determined to protect his dying father from the news of Partition - news that he knows will break his father's heart. With great spirit and determination, and with the help of his good friends, Bilal persuades others to collude with him in this deception, even printing false pages of the local newspaper to hide the ravages of unrest from his father. All that Bilal wants is for his father to die in peace. But that means Bilal has a very complicated relationship with the truth...


This was a lovely book and delightful read.

I am a fan of books set in the back drop of a major historical event but not that the historical event as such. This book did that. It was set in the 1940s during the partition of India. While the book wasn't about that directly you got to see how the events were affecting the lives of ordinary people in India.

The book follows the story of a young boy and his dying father and the lengths the boy goes to to keep events of the partition of India from his father as he knows it will break his father's heart. I loved the relationship between the two as it was really touching, heart warming and sad.

There were a wider cast of secondary characters who were all charming. I loved the four main boys and finding out about their life in India, what their school was like and how they viewed life.

The thing for me that would make me recommend this book is the insight it gives into religious tolerance (or lack of it) throughout the book you get clear insight into the hatred and violence that can he whipped up because of religious intolerance and I think that is a message which is highly relevant in the world today.

All in all a lovely little book which was a pleasure to read


I enjoyed reading this too although it's not normally the sort of book I would have picked up.
MissA said…
Does the book only come out in the UK? I may have to order it. I love historical ficiton and I love that this book is set a little after Gandhi (it seems like most historical fiction about India is about India's struggle for independence. A worthy topic to be sure but I want to learn aobut other parts of India's past).

Sounds like Bilal is a seriously determined kid! I can't believe he falsfied newspaper articles to keep his father in the dark...
I read this last week and absolutely loved it! Beautiful book.