The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

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Synopsis

For readers of Khaled Hosseini, Daniyal Mueenuddin, and Mohsin Hamid, a remarkable, award-winning book about the tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In this extraordinary tale, Tor Baz, the young boy descended from both chiefs and outlaws who becomes the Wandering Falcon, moves between the tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan and their uncertain worlds full of brutality, humanity, deep love, honor, poverty, and grace. The wild area he travels -- the Federally Administered Tribal Area -- has become a political quagmire known for terrorism and inaccessibility. Yet in these pages, eighty-year-old debut author Jamil Ahmad lyrically and insightfully reveals the people who populate those lands, their tribes and traditions, and their older, timeless ways in the face of sometimes ruthless modernity. This story is an essential glimpse into a hidden world, one that has enormous geopolitical significance today and still remains largely a mystery to us.

Jamil Ahmad is a storyteller in the classic sense -- there is an authenticity and wisdom to his writing that harkens back to another time. The Wandering Falcon reminds us why we read and how vital fiction is in opening new worlds to our imagination and understanding.
 

About Jamil Ahmad

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JAMIL AHMAD was born in 1930. He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan in 1954 and served mainly in the Frontier Province and Baluchistan. He was also Development Commissioner for the Frontier and Chairman of the Tribal Development Corporation, and was posted as Minister in Pakistan's Embassy in Kabul at a critical time before and during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He lives in Islamabad with his wife, Helga Ahmad, a nationally recognized environmentalist and social worker. This is his first book.
 
Published October 13, 2011 by Riverhead. 257 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Wandering Falcon

The Guardian

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This collection is reminiscent of the work of two masters of the short story: Saadat Hussain Manto's stories of India's violent partition and Isaac Babel's Red Cavalary stories.

Jun 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

The Guardian

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It is only fitting that a book as replete with storytelling as Jamil Ahmad's debut should have a stuff-of-fiction tale behind its own publication.

Aug 14 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

BC Books

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There are a few points that I wish weren't the case.

Nov 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

BC Books

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His parents are shot in front of his eyes by other nomadic tribes, which triggers his own nomadic lifestyle, by being passed along from one tribe to another, gaining several foster parents along the way, and ditching them whenever circumstances force him to.

Nov 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

NPR

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The Wandering Falcon is a collection of short fiction from Jamil Ahmad.

Sep 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Star Tribune

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Rich story- telling brings the tribal culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan to life.

Nov 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

AV Club

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A 79-year-old former Pakistani administrator based this debut on his life experience with the Pakistani/Afghani border and its people. 

Oct 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

AV Club

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Jamil Ahmad’s novel The Wandering Falcon is an elegy for a disappearing way of life in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Oct 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

The Bookbag

Summary: An echoing collection of tales from the borderlands of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Jul 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Washington Independent Review of Books

The villagers kill the mullah, and the parents of the dead boy take in the other boy and give him their son’s name, Tor Baz, or “black falcon.” Only at this point, when he’s 11 or 12, does the novel’s central character get a name.

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We Love This Book

He is only a child when both his parents are killed, after which he is passed from pillar to post as he becomes our introduction to many of the diverse tribes of the region.

Jul 28 2012 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Curious Book Fans

The story of how Jamil Ahmad’s book The Wandering Falcon came to be written is almost as fascinating as the book itself.

Aug 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

BookRack

What I loved most about the book was of course the writing and that goes without saying, however the vast canvas on which it was written – the territories unexplored, you can almost feel the heat on your back as you read the book.

Apr 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Prague Post

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Prague Post

The disemboweled body of one boy was stretched in front of him while another, still alive, was bound to a tree with the man's turban a short distance away," Ahmad writes, with all the hermetic detachment of a brain surgeon, ir of Paul Bowles, another arid writer whose often-violent stories unfold...

Nov 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Time Out Bangalore

The Wandering Falcon is set among the nomadic tribes of Balochistan.

May 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Wandering Falcon

Reader Rating for The Wandering Falcon
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