So, what’s next?
All that knowledge from the previous blog posts should now be stored in your brain, and I hope that you are ready to dwell deeper into The Empty Room. Leave your thoughts regarding the novel below, and through that we will be able to discuss Abbas’s literature in more detail.
Five other Pakistani novels you need to explore:
- Ice-Candy Man by Bapsi Sidhwa: A novel based around India’s 1947 Partition.
- The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid: A contemporary novel set in post 9/11 (there is also a film adaptation staring the only and only Riz Ahmed).
- Minaret by Laila Aboulela: Although not a Pakistani novel, I just had to add this one to the list as it really is a marvellous read. It follows the life of a young Muslim girl, who faces many challenges.
- Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam: A heart-breaking story about the issue of honour killings.
It was Muneeza Shamsie who said that:
‘By the end of the twentieth century, it [Pakistani literature in English] had grown from a little-known genre to a vital, dynamic body of work’.1
Pakistani literature over the years, has become more and more successful. Literature like The Empty Room, which focuses on real-life issues shows how the purpose of literature is not to just serve as entertainment, but is also there to educate. This genre is only expanding further into the 21st century, with pieces of art that engage the mind, and change perception. You could say it is revolutionising literature.
 Muneeza Shamsie, Hybrid tapestries: The Development of Pakistani literature in English (Oxford University Press, 2017), 347.