Title: No Honour
Author: Awais Khan
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Gifted, uncorrected proof
Publication date: eBook – 19th June 2021, paperback – 19th August 2021
Pre-order here: www.OrendaBooks.co.uk
I have been so excited to read Awais’ second novel No Honour and thrilled that Orenda Books kindly gifted me a proof copy to fall into. Many of you know that I absolutely adore Awais’ writing ever since I devoured his debut novel In the Company of Strangers. Similar to his debut novel, No Honour is set in Lahore mainly, with the entwining of the dark side of Pakistani culture sewn into the plotline. In the Company of Strangers was focused on the rich side of Lahore, the glitz and glamour, what it means to be surviving in an elite world, but No Honour shows the flip side of the sparkly glamour of this over-populated city. We are first drawn into a village, one where a young woman’s child is ripped from her arms and life is shed – this opening hits home the dangers of being a woman. No Honour delves into the ingrained practices of the Pakistani culture and the approach to women, both their deaths and their fight for survival in a world where they are possessions, objectified, used as a bargaining chip and of course the illegal act of honour killings which sadly do still occur – harrowing.
The beginning of No Honour is set within a village, where fear strikes into the heart of those pregnant out of wedlock, the toxicity of practices is clearly put across but through the darkness, love shines through. We are quickly transported to Lahore, a largely populated city where those travel to for hope, success, and riches but instead, lurking in the shadows are increased crime statistic, danger, and drugs. Awais’ penmanship has you visualising everything perfectly, I could feel the humidity, the smell of food in the air and feel the desperation that flows through the hot Lahore air as if it was oxygen.
No Honour follows the story of sixteen-year-old Abida, a character who falls in love with a man, but life does not pan out as perfectly as she wishes it would, she quickly sheds her teenage life and is thrown into an extremely dangerous setting. I loved Abida, her strength to survive and overcome terrifying obstacles was inspiring. The mixture of characters, as well as the injection of other POVs worked together seamlessly. You can tell that Awais has poured everything into this novel, it’ll have you gripped and flying through the chapters as the tension increases with the unravelling storyline – I just can’t fault it.
No Honour is an important and emotive novel, one where Awais has opened the lid off many relevant subjects, as well as coaxing the reader into a stunningly written, harrowing read where survival is a mindset and male power conquers all. I was utterly captivated. This captivating novel has been carefully planned out, passionately written and truly unforgettable, you will be absorbed until the last page and left thinking about it for a long time afterwards.