Amina

Amina

The Silent One

Fiction - Realistic
188 Pages
Reviewed on 08/07/2015
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Fiza Pathan is a teacher and an award winning author of eight books: S.O.S. Animals and Other Stories, Treasury of Bizarre Christmas Stories, CLASSICS: Why We Should Encourage Children to Read Them, So This Is Love-Collected Poems, NIRMALA: The Mud Blossom, CLASSICS: How We Can Encourage Children to Read Them, The Flame Will Always Burn-Selected Poems, Amina: The Silent One and “Flesh of Flesh” (Short Story).
Fiza Pathan is the recipient of the following awards:
The Mom's Choice Awards® has named Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them and Classics: How we can encourage children to read them, among the best in family-friendly media, products and services.
In the 2015 Beverly Hills International Book Award Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them was a Winner in the Education category.
Pinnacle Book Achievement Award has been awarded to the following books:
Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them-2014 Winner in the Category of Education.
NIRMALA: The Mud Blossom-2014 Winner in the Category of Novella.
So This Is Love-Collected Poems-2014 Winner in the Category of Poetry.
In the 2015 The Next Generation Indie Book Awards:
Classics: How we can encourage children to read them was named a Finalist in the Category of Education/Academic.
NIRMALA: The Mud Blossom was named a Finalist in the Category of Novella.
In the 2015 Eric Hoffer Book Awards:
Classics: How we can encourage children to read them received Honourable Mention in the E-book Non-fiction category.
Classics: Why we should encourage children to read them (Category Education) and Classics: How we can encourage children to read them (Category Reference) has been accepted into nomination for the Global Ebook Awards 2015.
In the 2015 Holiday Book Festival:
S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories received Honourable Mention in the Wild Card category.
Classics: How we can encourage children to read them was selected as a ‘Self Help / How to’ Finalist in the 2015 IAN Book of the Year Awards.
In the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards:
Classics: How we can encourage children to read them was honored with the Bronze Medal in the Non-fiction education category.
Nirmala: The Mud Blossom received Honorable Mention in the Fiction Realistic category.
Fiza regularly blogs on www.insaneowl.com and has her own website www.fizapathan.com. She shares reviews of books which she has read and enjoyed. You may follow her on Twitter @FizaPathan or join her on Goodreads.

Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Amina: The Silent One by Fiza Pathan is a compelling, realistic, and sometimes stark read. Amina is essentially a social commentary in the form of fiction. It is the story of Amina, a young Muslim girl born and raised as an unwanted girl child in the slums of India with an unique musical gift. The book starts with an introduction to Amina’s family at her birth and the social dynamics that make the family mourn and lament the birth of a girl child. We then follow Amina’s life as she grows into a teenager, deals with loss and death, and the daily problems that women face in a patriarchal society like India. Amina is then married off in her teens to a 34-year-old man called Iqbal in an arranged marriage, who in turn forces her into prostitution. Throughout all of this, Amina finds solace in her music. This is the story of her life and the life of women in general in India.

Amina: The Silent One is a gritty, powerful story written in a wonderfully engaging way. The writing style is extremely readable and I couldn’t put the book down; I read it all in one go. Fiza has succeeded tremendously in portraying the conditions of women in India and other similar male-dominated societies. I really appreciated the fact that a book like this truly brings to light the many severe issues that women face in over half of the world such as female infanticide, the practice of dowry and arranged marriages, the second-class status of women in society, an utter lack of basic and fundamental human rights, sexual harassment and abuse, and lack of education and opportunities for women. All in all, this is an outstanding book and one that I would very highly recommend to everyone.

Hilary Hawkes

Fiza Pathan’s novel Amina: The Silent One is the story of Amina, born into the grim poverty of an Indian slum. As a girl she is considered “a burden.” Nevertheless, her parents Jaffar and Rahat want all their daughters educated. Amina is a silent, contemplative child, and her parents encourage her extraordinary talent for music. When Rahat and her other daughters are killed in suicide bombings, Amina’s grandmother, Khadijah, insists that the girl is eventually married off. Poor Amina becomes imprisoned as a sex-slave in the house of husband Iqbal and his cruel mother who run a prostitution business. She suffers incomprehensible abuse until Iqbal hears her play the flute. Seizing her chance to escape, one day she flees to the one person and place she knows will offer safety, and from there she begins her journey of healing, and her training and emergence as an accomplished musician.

Pathan’s writing is exceptional, and this book is a revelation into what life is like in the Indian slums and more, particularly the inhumane ways in which girls and women are viewed and treated by many in Indian society. The author holds nothing back in her harrowing descriptions of appalling abuse. The result is an eye-opening, gripping and heart-breaking story. Pathan has a captivating writing style. The characters she creates are totally real to the reader, and the world in which they live becomes very vivid too. I love the quote by Maria Augusta von Trapp at the start of the book: “Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens,” which speaks of the healing properties of music. Amina’s music not only softens the hearts of her abusers, to some extent, but also propels her forward and prevents her soul from being completely broken. Amina: The Silent One is a powerful story with a message that needs to be told, one that will stay in your mind. It deserves an award.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

In Amina: The Silent One by Fiza Pathan, Amina is known in her family as the silent one. She seldom speaks. With two older sisters, a mother and a grandmother all talking non-stop, it's understandable that the third daughter would be the quiet one. Amina does communicate, however, in a language that is more powerful than the spoken word. Amina communicates through her music. She is, surprisingly, a musical prodigy and her flute, her instrument of choice because it is the only one her father could afford to give her, transports herself and all who listen to a world of wonder.

In the poor ghetto where life is a daily struggle for mere survival, Amina provides a source of beauty for all who can hear her music. And, for Amina, music becomes not only her solace, but also her saving grace. When her mother and sisters are killed tragically in a terrorist bomb, Amina buries herself in her music. As a young woman, forced into an arranged marriage, Amina must endure the unthinkable and it is only with her music that she can truly escape. And, through her music she can forgive, but never forget.
Music is, after all, the most powerful means of communication and, although Amina is the silent one, she finds a deeper beauty that speaks through her silence and touches the heart and soul of all around her.

Amina's story is just one story in the sad plight of women in India. Parts of her story are as shocking as they are tragic. Author Fiza Pathan presents the reader with greater insight into the sad fate of India's women and reveals a revoltingly unfair world that many of us can never fully understand. This story is a very powerful and insightfully troubling one that addresses the plight of women in India.