Things She Could Never Have
This week, ​​​​​​The Minerva Reader features ​​​​Things She Could Never Have by Tehmina Khan (Mawenzi House).

About the book:
"Accomplished, sensitive, and often disturbing, these stories take us into the lives of modern Pakistanis—privileged and poor, gay, trans, and straight, men and women, in Karachi and Toronto. “Whisperings of the Devil” takes us into the mind of a mistreated maidservant’s boy who gets seduced into the role of a suicide bomber. In “To Allah We Pray,” two privileged and educated young men, one of them home from Toronto, gallivant through the streets of Karachi, finally walking into a doomed mosque. “Things She Could Never Have” is a love story about two young trans women living in Karachi. “Born on the First of July” opens the door into the home of a Toronto girl who has left to join ISIS and the devastated family she leaves behind. “The First” will astonish many readers by its depiction of sexual encounters of young college girls in Pakistan. These and other stories link us into the complexities of a sometimes troubled and often misrepresented Muslim society.

My Review:
Powerful, rich, evocative and heartbreaking, Things She Could Never Have is filled with memorable stories about religion, gender, marriage, family, country and culture.

In this exquisite collection of short stories, life’s toughest issues are deftly tackled with finesse, sensitivity, compassion and empathy.

Presented from various points of view, the inter-connectedness of some of the pieces satisfies the reader’s desire to know more, to know what happened, and I found myself wishing for more ‘inside information’ with others. 

It was easy to get lost in these stories and feel as if you were right there. I loved this author's writing and I look forward to her next book.

"But don't think I am unhappy. There is a roof over my head, food that I cook for myself, and clothes that I stitch so well. There is a pleasure in being alive, spiced with few regrets. Sometimes I wish we had had kids so that I could see you in their faces, listen to you in their speech, realize you in the angles and contours of their bodies and rejoice you through the living of their lives. 

But then, I remind myself, I still have you. I have you here, within me, listening to my stories." – excerpt from Come Listen to Me.

"And if a writer has genuine star quality, a sharper, deeper radiance than most, then he or she ought to be identified and celebrated without delay. 
Time may be of the essence. Margaret Macpherson, a relatively unknown Maritime-born Albertan, is such a writer, and Body Trade, her seventh book and second novel, is the proof. She writes with the psychological insight of Carol Shields, the gravitas of Margaret Atwood, the poetic reflexes of Earl Birney and the earthy eroticism of Leonard Cohen, but her voice remains uniquely her own."  
Lesley Hughes, Winnipeg Free Press