Book Review: Hell! No Saints in Paradise by A.K. Asif
We live in a world, which is deeply divided on religious lines. Terrorism, killings, mass murders committed in the name of religion are the order of the day. It is not surprising that the percentage of people who choose atheism over organised religion is on the rise.
In the book, ‘Hell! No Saints in Paradise’ author AK Asif introduces us to Ismael, who is an atheist. He was brought up in Pakistan, where his religious father always sermonised on the Do’s and Don’ts of life. Not following the siraat e mustaaqeem (the so-called straight path), would lead him to jahannum (or hell). He grew up listening to stories of divine punishments meted out to those who go to hell. Ismael escaped Pakistan and settled in America instead.
Several years later, in the year 2050, he chances upon Petra, a psychoanalyst, who advises him to visit the Yage Yoga Centre. He experiences a potion there which he is transported to a psychedelic world of spiritualism and has visions of Al-Khidr. This encounter prompts him to visit Pakistan, which is now under the Caliphate. Ismael now has to pose as a believer in order to secure his passage and safety in Pakistan.
What follows is a tale of self-discovery. Although dystopian bordering on fantasy, this book is also a commentary on the socio-political climate of the modern world. In his lucid language, and strong and articulate writing, AK Asif makes you a compatriot of Ismael in this journey.
While one must definitely pat the author’s back for coming up with a book on fantasy genre, on a subject which often gets people killed, it is also worth noting that the length of the book is painstakingly long.
However, the book gets you involved. There are gory scenes, details which are at times unpalatable. But one must read on (just like one must continue to live through events). Does Ismael finish his thesis on paradise and hell? That’s for you to read and find out. It is the journey that matters.
My Rating: 3/5 stars
P.S. – Thank you Writersmelon for the review copy.
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Posted on February 11, 2018, in Books and tagged AK Asif, Book Review, Bookreview, Books, fiction, HarperCollins, Hell! No Saints in Paradise, thriller, writersmelon. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.