Summer read: Our lady of Alice Bhatti

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This book, by Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif, describes the life, set in the present time (say 2011) of a poor nurse in the French Colony slum of Karachi who has an abusive relationship with a thug.  Her options are limited by being in a Christian minority of a Muslim country, and by being a woman in an abusive male society.  The book elaborates these themes of poverty, corruption, intolerance and abuse.  Nevertheless, it remains readable and entertaining, and gives a good ground-up portrait of this patch of the world.

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