|A Small Fortune|
by Rosie Dastgir
May 24, 2012
With a cunning talent for pitting the generations against one another, Dastgir tells a story that is both classic in its roots and fervently modern in its portrayal of a Pakistani family at odds with itself and its surroundings. And while the sympathy and understanding seem to lie most with the younger generation, it is the elders of the family that appear to have the most endurance in the face of all that comes at them.
But what is special Ms. Dastgir's novel is her classical emphasis on one small event (or even a small fortune, as it were) rippling out into a murderous tide; as with the real things, the calm will only come after the worst has passed. For Harris' family, no resolution will be simple but, like any story rooted in Greek tragedy, everyone will have a lesson to learned. This is a very smart novel with multiple but clear perspectives, one that has a sort of shyness to it; Dastgir does not grandstand, she merely seeks to inform, and she does so with a heartbreaking kind of clarity that would otherwise elude any and all of her characters.