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Thinner than Skin

Published by Clockroot Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Thinner than Skin is a riveting novel about identity and belonging. It’s also a love story: between a young Pakistani man trying to make his way as photographer in America, and the daughter of a Pakistani father and German mother brought up in the US, who wants to return to a country she’s never seen. Together they make the trip to Pakistan, where a chance meeting with a young nomad changes their lives, and the lives of those around them, forever. The novel is also a love letter to the wilds of Northern Pakistan, to glaciers, to the old Silk Road, and to the nomadic life of the indigenous people in the Northern territories, where China encroaches and Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Russians, Chinese, and Afghans all come together to trade.

About The Author

Uzma Aslam Khan was born in Lahore and grew up in Karachi. She is the author of three novels, including Trespassing, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. She teaches literature at Hampshire College.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Clockroot Books (December 28, 2012)
  • Length: 448 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781623710248

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Raves and Reviews

"Uzma Aslam Khan is a wonderful writer whose descriptions of the northern part of Pakistan and the fast fading way of life that had been lived there for hundreds of years are sometimes stunning... memorable passages... gorgeous writing...when Khan is good, she's very very good... a book so dense with detail and so leisurely at times in its telling, I closed "Thinner Than Skin," I also felt a strong need to read more by this talented, young writer whose vision is so fierce and large and complex."- The Arts Fuse

Set mostly against the background of Pakistan's Kaghan Valley, a majestic place steeped in the customs and traditions of a quickly disappearing culturehuman fates juxtaposed with a complex geopolitical situation make for an interesting read."

Here in the West we don't receive many English-language novels by Pakistani women authors, so when we do we should pay attentionstunningly beautiful"clearly her heart remains in Pakistan. As with her earlier books ("The Story of Noble Rot," "Trespassing" and "The Geometry of God"), Khan continues to explore new territory, both geographic and literar... "Thinner Than Skin" has elements of quest, thriller, love story and legend, with unconventional characters, including strong Pakistani women...fascinating."

Every once in a while, along comes a novel that one reads more for the quality of its prose than for its story line. Uzma Aslam Khan's Thinner than Skin" is one such. It is clear from the get-go that the author is in love with words... Equally enjoyable, the narrative is packed with nuggets of information on random subjects... And if one requires any further reason to read this absorbing book, there is an account of the mating of glaciers that would make for a wonderful short story on its own."

In gorgeous prose, Khan writes about Pakistan, a land of breathtaking beauty, and the complex relationships between people who are weighted with grief and estrangement. As her characters' lives play out against the backdrop of the external world whose violence gradually closes in on them, Khan brilliantly probes the fatal limitations of human understanding. A novel of great lucidity and tenderness, filled with splendid descriptions of the land, the people who have always inhabited it, and those who are irresistibly drawn to it.

– Therese Soukar Chehade

Smart, fierce, and poignant: perhaps the most exciting novel yet by this very talented writer.

– Mohsin Hamid

In Uzma Aslam Khan's new novel, mountain peaks are windows in a door, vices hitch a ride in the bells of mountain goats, thoughts scatter like moonseed, horses are wings to the world, owls to the next, and glaciers mate, witnessed by silence. It is a beautiful novel where almost every word has a taste and a colour, which expand in circles in the reader's mind. Modern lives are woven in with old legends, pagan rituals are carried over into days of Muslim belief, the city impinges on desolate, forgotten countries, the West makes inroads into the East and is faced with the impenetrable.

There are a few novels that sadden one when they end-not because of the ending itself but because of not wanting to let go of the characters whose life one has shared for a while. The most recent was Uzma Aslam Khan's Thinner than Skin. Khan interlaces these multiple sources of tension in taunt, understated prose until they implode in unexpected ways. She is especially adept in describing events as people actually experience them...Thinner than Skin is a fascinating introduction to the real life and culture of people in areas usually described only in stereotypical jargon. It is also a protest against environmental destruction, government insensitivity to people's needs, and the stupidities and cruelty of the War on Terror, " but like most good literature, the protest is not in the rhetorical but couched in the story."

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