In the wilds of Northern Pakistan, where glaciers are born of mating ice, two young lovers shatter the tenuous peace of a nomadic community
Thinner than Skin is a riveting novel about identity and belonging. It’s also a love story: between a young Pakistani man trying to make his way as photographer in America, and the daughter of a Pakistani father and German mother brought up in the US, who wants to return to a country she’s never seen. Together they make the trip to Pakistan, where a chance meeting with a young nomad changes their lives, and the lives of those around them, forever. The novel is also a love letter to the wilds of Northern Pakistan, to glaciers, to the old Silk Road, and to the nomadic life of the indigenous people in the Northern territories, where China encroaches and Pakistanis, Uzbeks, Russians, Chinese, and Afghans all come together to trade.
“In gorgeous prose, Khan writes about Pakistan, a land of breathtaking beauty, and the complex relationships between people who are weighted with grief and estrangement. As her characters’ lives play out against the backdrop of the external world whose violence gradually closes in on them, Khan brilliantly probes the fatal limitations of human understanding. A novel of great lucidity and tenderness, filled with splendid descriptions of the land, the people who have always inhabited it, and those who are irresistibly drawn to it.”
—Therese Soukar Chehade
“Smart, fierce, and poignant: perhaps the most exciting novel yet by this very talented writer.”
Uzma Aslam Khan is the author of Trespassing and The Geometry of God, both highly acclaimed novels, published around the world. Uzma’s story “Ice, Mating” was included in Granta magazine’s hugely popular edition on Pakistan. She is the winner of the Bronze Award in the Independent Publishers Book Award, and her previous novel was a Kirkus Best Book of 2009 and a finalist for Foreword Magazine’s Best Books of 2009.
Back in Karachi for his father’s funeral, Daanish, a young Pakistani changed by his years at an American university, is entranced by Dia, a fiercely independent heiress to a silk factory in the countryside. Their illicit affair will forever rupture two households and three families, destroying a stable present built on the repression of a bloody past.
In this sweeping novel of modern Pakistan, Uzma Aslam Khan takes us from the stifling demands of tradition and family to the daily oppression of routine political violence, from the gorgeous sensual vistas of the silk farms to the teeming streets of Karachi — stinking, crumbling, and corrupt.