Book Review: "The Reclusive Writer and Reader of Bandra: Essays" By Fiza Pathan

Welcome to my #BookReview as read on today's #RRBC #RRBCRatersNotHaters Show on

Rave Waves BlogTalk Radio

Featuring "The Reclusive Writer and Reader of Bandra: Essays" By Fiza Pathan

About the Author (From Amazon):

Fiza Pathan has a bachelor's degree in arts from the University of Mumbai, where she majored in history and sociology with a first class. She also has a bachelor's degree in education, again with a first class, her special subjects being English and history.

Fiza has written eleven award-winning books and a short story, "Flesh of Flesh," which reflect her interest in furthering the cause of education and in championing social issues. In over seventy literary competitions, she has placed either as winner or finalist, chief among them being: 2018 DBW Awards; Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Award; 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards; 2018 BookViral Millennium Book Awards; Readers' Favorite Book Awards; Reader Views Literary Awards; Eric Hoffer Book Award; Foreword Reviews Indie Fab Book Awards; Mom's Choice Awards; Literary Classics Book Awards; and Dan Poynter's Global Ebook Awards. She lives with her maternal family, and writes novels and short stories in most genres. You may follow her on Twitter @FizaPathan and visit her blog

About the Book:

As for me, if it were not for you (Papa), never would I have been to the places I have been and done the things I have done, which have shaped me into the writer, teacher, and reader I am.

One might say Fiza Pathan's father started her on a path toward books. He wanted a boy child and got a girl, and as a result, Fiza went to live with her mother and uncle at her grandmother's house.

This book of personal essays documents the relationship Fiza Pathan has had with the many libraries, secondhand bookshops, boutique bookstores, and writing haunts that have made her into the writer, publisher, and teacher she is today. Fiza believes that she is an amalgamation of the books she has read over nearly twenty-seven years and the places that have provided her with excellent reading material. As we journey along with her, we notice how her life intersects with these places--we not only learn about the place, but about Fiza herself. Her struggles in life. Her start as an only child who loved comics. The teenager who escaped social awkwardness literally by hiding out in the library of her school and entering worlds distant from her own in the form of books. The twentysomething who frequented book boutiques that provided hot drinks and excellent people-watching opportunities. These pages describe the places in Mumbai that have made Fiza into the book lover she is--into the person she is. Her recollections are nostalgic and emotional as she grapples with her relationship to her estranged father, the father who rejected her because she was a girl child.

My Review as Read on Today's BlogTalk Radio Show:

(Special Note- We had a few technical difficulties today with my microphone, but here is today's review I read during the show)

“The places I write about in these essays have taught me tolerance, unity in diversity, and shared existence”. When I venture into a book, whether it be poetry, fiction, memoirs, or non-fiction, I tend to lean towards stories that call to me or are relatable to me. That is what I found in the collection of essays “The Reclusive Writer & Reader of Bandra: Essays” by the incomparable Fiza Pathan. Each essay was written in a sociological style where she reviews periods of her life, her community, and the political culture that surrounded her in an effort to teach her readers about tolerance and identity in a more universal journey. These essays have an autobiographical feel, as they share memoirs of the author’s life. I found myself in familiar territory as Ms. Pathan described shares not just her feelings of being different but described fully her beliefs attached to her identity. She effortlessly teaches the reader the culture and environment that surrounded her throughout her lifetime, and the mentors that blessed her life by surrounding her by books.

I found her imagery poignant and her descriptions of her life of oppression that surrounded her heart breaking. As she describes “Lynching, murder, religious intolerance, caste riots, regionalism, suppression of the press” that occurred in her village, I found myself being lost as the reality occurred that these incidents are similar to our current times, in my opinion of course. When discussing the politics of her community, I found myself overhearing Shirley Bassey’s song called “History Repeating”. The hardships she endured and the survival she embraced was heroic. Just like the books whom became her first love, she discovered a safe place for her to escape from the oppressed and haunting life she courageously journeyed through. Many of the essays also addressed the hardship she endured with an emotionally abusive father whom desired to have a boy instead of a girl, as well as her identity of being different then others in her community. I know the feeling of “being different” all too well.

I could go on and on with this review of “The Reclusive Writer & Reader of Bandra: Essays” but I will simply state Ms. Pathan’s collection of autobiographical essays took me to my own place of learning “tolerance, unity in diversity, and shared existence”. I am proud to grant Fiza Pathan a 5-Star rating for this collection.

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