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A Small Fortune

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


An entertaining debut novel reminiscent of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth that explores the lives of an extended Pakistani family of immigrants in London—all with a gently humorous touch and fond but wry eye

Harris, the presumed patriarch of his large extended family in both England and Pakistan, has unexpectedly received a “small fortune” from his divorce settlement with an English woman: £53,000. As a devout Muslim, Harris views this sum as a “burden of riches” that he must unload on someone else as quickly as possible. But deciding which relative to give it to proves to be a burden of its own, and soon he has promised it both to his extremely poor cousins in Pakistan and to his Westernized, college-student daughter. Then, in a rash bout of guilt and misunderstanding, Harris signs the entire sum away to the least deserving, most prosperous cousin of all. This solves none of his problems and creates many more, exacerbating a tricky web of familial debt and obligation on two sides of the world, until the younger generation steps in to help.

With insight, affection, and a great gift for character and story, Dastgir immerses us in a rich, beautifully drawn immigrant community and complex extended family. She considers the challenges between relatives of different cultural backgrounds, generations, and experiences—and the things they have to teach one another. A Small Fortune offers an affectionate and affecting look at class, culture, and the heartbreak of misinterpretation.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 30, 2012 – Harris, a likable, middle-aged Pakistani migr living in the North of England, immediately comes to life in the opening pages of this charming debut novel, as does his daughter, Alia. Unbeknownst to her father, who is separated from Alia s British mother, Alia has dropped out of med school in London and is living with her English boyfriend. Harris s shock at learning the truth about Alia s circumstances, among other emotional setbacks, creates a rift between the two that takes the rest of the novel to mend. As vividly as the book begins, however, the pace drags as members of their extended family, both in England and Pakistan, enter the narrative. While the book s strength relies on Dastgir s insightful ability to knit together distinct yet interdependent lives and while getting acquainted with each individual does feel worthwhile the energy of the narrative too often slows amid stilted dialogue and multiple versions of emotional indecision. Finally, when Rashid, a close family friend, gets mixed up with radical Islamists, the plot veers toward the predictable. An absorbing conclusion reveals Dastgir s talent, heart, and clear knack for pulling it all together.
A Small Fortune
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  • $6.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Family
  • Published: May 24, 2012
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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