My friend Roberta Hudlow, SL, sent me this review of My Sisters Made of Light by Jacqueline St. Joan:
This book haunts me -- I pick it up to reread sections; to revisit Nafeesa and Kulraj and the “she-lions of Punjab.” There is pain and there is beauty in it. St. Joan gives to Kulraj Singh words that fit all our stories, “Pleasure and pain are a set of robes a man must keep on wearing.”
Mainly, Adaila Prison is the stage where Baji Ajala’s story unfolds as she tells the stories of her life to a tough but curious prison director. Ajala’s stories are hard but beautifully told with the light of hope, although hope is frequently very dim.
The author’s descriptions, dialogues, and characters pull you into the story. You feel surrounded by the presence of the people of Pakistan. You also feel the anachronism of the ancient culture and the use of cell phones and the fact that one of the character’s favorite TV show is “Friends”.
I felt the presence of the culture of Pakistan as I did of Afghanistan in Khaled Hosseini’s books. However, I am awed that this book is written by an American. She must love the people and the place that is Pakistan with the love of a daughter of the soil. She seems to suffer with the plight of the women but also the harsh demands the culture has bred into the men. She sees how difficult it is for a man to see another way.
The main parallel I sense of this story and the stories of Khaled Hosseini is the sense of destiny or the life spiral that continues to move out as do ripples in water.