Ayesha’s Gift is the story of a second-generation Pakistani woman, Ayesha Rahman, who is searching for answers to her questions: who killed her father and importantly why would someone want to inflict such a dreadful end upon a doting father?
Ayesha; a confident, educated and accomplished young woman, has up to this point in her life considered herself to be very British. Ayesha connects with a young British journalist, Martin and together they set about investigating her father’s murder.
The book shines a light on the unfamiliar world of Pakistan’s dishonored families, its underworld and corruption. We are given sight of Ayesha’s discomfort when her father’s honesty is called into question at various points in the story and Sixsmith holds the reader in suspense right through to the closing scenes; was he a good guy or did he have a side to him which he hid from his family?
Martin sets about his research with rigour and not much seems to shock him as his questioning takes him deeper and deeper into the unfamiliar territory of Pakistan. As more is uncovered, the reader empathises with Ayesha, how she is torn between two cultures and perhaps how she belongs to both, or neither.
What I found interesting about Ayesha’s Gift is the dynamic between Ayesha and Martin. They have a common purpose but this isn’t a sugar-coated romance dressed up as something else. Martin suffers a profound event during the course of the investigation, this shifts his perspective, but don’t expect a Hollywood love story!
Sixsmith’s writing is direct, pulls no punches and moves the action along with pace. If you’re looking for an intensely moving, emotional or reflective novel then you may want to look elsewhere. However, if you’re looking for a page-turning storyline with insight into another culture and real characters who are courageous and focused, then look no further than Ayesha’s Gift.
by Sarah Beecher, Reception Manager
Martin Sixsmith is appearing at Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival on Friday 2oth October at 6.30pm. Find out more and book now.