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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
In Beena Khan’s The Name of Red, a beautiful, sexy woman in a tight red dress walks into a busy bar, orders a vodka, opens a book, and starts reading. She shuns the advances of all admirers. She returns each night. Kabir, the owner, is entranced and begins leaving books for her with little notes. Their relationship weaves and grows from there at a slow, intimate pace. The characters are mid-Eastern, giving us a peek into this under-exposed minority—their speech, their internal struggles, their hearts. “We’re all people who life has messed up,” the bartender explains. Beena Khan’s first novel is an in-depth exploration of how love relationships begin from nothing and grow in small steps to overwhelming importance in our lives. And the novel deals also with how they end.
I loved Beena Khan’s The Name of Red. First of all, it’s about readers—two at least. Second, it’s a powerful look into how love starts and how it grows. The insights reach our innermost being. Third, the writing is innocent and engaging, especially in that it is unabashedly English as a second language, which, though not always “correct,” gives us the feeling that we are glimpsing into a sub-culture. I’m glad the “mistakes” were not edited out. The read is quick and easy, always clear. There’s an innocence about the writing that grows in intensity, even passion, to a deeply moving climax. I recommend this novel to anyone who has been hurt in love and yet realizes that after all the hurts we may suffer, love, with all its difficulties, is what matters most. Bravo, Ms. Khan, for a triumphant debut as an author!