Book Review: This House Of Clay And Water By Faiqa Mansab
Faiqa Mansab’s novel, This House of Clay and Water, tells us that though a house is made up of clay and water, sometimes the same abode feels like a cage made up of rigid rules and regulations, especially for the women who have to abide by those rules through thick and thin. And if a woman tries to break that cage, then the family and society won’t take a minute to give her the label of a pariah. A deep work of storytelling.
In the city of Lava, i.e., Lahore, Nida, Sasha, and Bhanggi were searching for love. The three of them had different understandings of love. For Nida, a well-educated woman, love is what her mother never gave her. And she longed for that love and acceptance in her life. For Nida, love is easy to find; that’s why she didn’t hesitate to have multiple affairs while being married to a faithful husband. And finally, for a hijra like Bhanggi, love is divine, which they seldom receive from fellow humans.
It’s a story that is full of human emotions and the concept of fidelity and infidelity in a marriage. And most importantly, it’s about transgender people like Bhanggi who are constantly being abused because of who they are.
What is This House of Clay and Water by Faiqa Mansab?
This House of Clay and Water is a story of three people by the names of Nida, Sasha, and Bhanggi, who are from Lahore, Pakistan. And through their tale, the author has revealed several fault lines that exist in our society, whether it’s the role of marriage in one’s life or the constant longing for love and acceptance.
In fact, through her storytelling, the author has tried to show a mirror to people, especially to those who believe that women should be subservient to men. And they should behave accordingly.
The language of the book is easy to understand. And I recommend this novel to those readers who are interested in reading a deep and good story that talks about the shortcomings of people and society at large. In particular, the role of women in the family.
These are some of the important characters in the novel, This House of Clay and Water,
• Nida- The forlorn housewife
• Sasha- The audacious housewife
• Bhanggi- The Hijra and the Sufi mendicant
• Zoya- Sasha’s daughter
• Saqib- Nida’s husband
• Luqman- Sasha’s husband
The theme of Faiqa Mansab’s book This House of Clay and Water talks about neglected childhood, careless motherhood, longing for love, care, affection, the so-called ideal marriage where the wife has to kow-tow to the demands of her husband and his family, and most importantly, about the double-faced nature of our society where everything revolves in and around black and white terms, and the most important grey area, which is mostly neglected by the people at large.
While reading this book, I thought about some of these read between the lines points which also deserve your attention.
1. A child who is made to feel that she or he is inferior is one of the worst things that a person does to a child.
2. For a daughter, her mother is the most important guide that lets her know about so many things in our society, especially about men and marriage.
3. A marriage where the wife can’t even share her innermost thoughts with her husband is a very painful marriage for that woman. In a nutshell, it’s a cage where she has to live her life forever.
4. Love is multidimensional. And those who understand this part of love grow together in a divine way.
5. By labelling another human being as a subhuman, especially people from the hijra community. As a society, we are showing our own double standards and moral hypocrisy.
6. People with questionable morals won’t be afraid to use religion to cover up their less than honorable actions.
Why should you read this book?
You can go for this novel if you want to read:
1. A female-centered novel.
2. A novel that talks about women’s social issues.
3. A story that discusses the meaning of motherhood, love, friendship, and, most importantly, marriage.
4. A tale that discusses the life and innermost thoughts of a hijra (transgender).
My Ratings: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5)
I hope you like this. Thanks for reading. Jai Hind.
You can also order your copy of the book from Amazon India- This House of Clay and Water book