What if you received an unexpected chunk of money? Would you spend it on yourself? Now suppose you were brought up Muslim and the money came from a divorce settlement. Now what? Would you feel compelled to give it away like Harris did?
In the murky streaks of daybreak, he thought of Alia—his only child, his best hope, the light of his life. During term time, she seldom visited him up here in his house at the end of the North wind, and after their summer trip together, he felt her absence more keenly than ever. He had an idea, a proposition for her, that would mean going to see her. . . .—A Small Fortune: A Novel by Rosie Dastgir (Penguin USA / Riverhead Books, 2012; quote is from uncorrected proofs and may differ in the published edition)
The act of fleeing his house never failed to lift his spirits. The world unspooling outside the window as he sped down the M1 gave him a sense of purpose and progress. It was a four-hour drive to London and he usually brought his own food on motor trips. Not because he was fearful of encountering non-halal food—unlike the northern cousins, who took a hard line on such things—but rather because he loathed spending money on the rubbery fry-ups they served in motorway service stations. The curry he had brought along sloshed messily on the seat beside him. . . . (p. 16)
- Setting: England, Pakistan
- Circumstances: Harris unexpectedly receives £53,000 from his divorce settlement and is uneasy because the Koran says it's wrong to hoard money when others are in need
- Characters: Harris, who emigrated from Pakistan when he married an English woman; Alia, his daughter who was born and raised in England; various Pakistani relatives
- Main themes: duty, family, immigration, class and culture conflicts, love, charity
- Genre: literary fiction
Want to Know More? Author Rosie Dastgir talked with Poets & Writers about what inspires her. She also has conducted a number of interviews, such as those with Metro and with Awaaz, in which she talks about family, her book, her influences, and more. For more about Dastgir, visit her website, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page. The publisher's website includes reviews, a biography, and information about the different media and editions. For more Riverhead Books and for news about events and great books, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.