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Random House Publishing Group, Fall 2018

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    9781984817402 9780525486480 Paperback / softback, Trade, , $22 CAD 9781524799724 Electronic book text, Reflowable, , EPUB 9780525639534 Downloadable audio file
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    Distributor: Random House, Inc. Availability: On Sale Date:Jan 22, 2019 Carton Quantity:12 $36.00 CAD
    $27.00 USD
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A Novel
By (author): Soniah Kamal
9781524799717 Hardcover English General Trade FICTION / Women Jan 22, 2019
$36.00 CAD
Active 6.33 x 9.57 x 1.16 in 352 pages Ballantine Ballantine Books
In this retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in modern-day Pakistan, Alys Binat has sworn never to marry—until an encounter with one Mr. Darsee at a wedding makes her reconsider.

A scandal and vicious rumor in the Binat family have destroyed their fortune and prospects for desirable marriages, but Alys, the second and most practical of the five Binat daughters, has found happiness teaching English literature to schoolgirls. Knowing that many of her students won’t make it to graduation before dropping out to marry and start having children, Alys teaches them about Jane Austen and her other literary heroes and hopes to inspire them to dream of more.

When an invitation arrives to the biggest wedding their small town has seen in years, Mrs. Binat excitedly sets to work preparing her daughters to fish for eligible—and rich—bachelors, certain that their luck is about to change. On the first night of the festivities, Alys’s lovely older sister, Jena, catches the eye of one of the most eligible bachelors. But his friend Valentine Darsee is clearly unimpressed by the Binat family. Alys accidentally overhears his unflattering assessment of her, and quickly dismisses him and his snobbish ways.

But as the days of lavish wedding parties unfold, the Binats wait breathlessly to see if Jena will land a proposal—and Alys begins to realize that Darsee’s brusque manner may be hiding a very different man from the one she saw at first glance.

Story Locale: Dilipabad (fictional town outside of Lahore, Pakistan)

This retelling is FAITHFUL TO THE ORIGINAL WITH A UNIQUE TWIST—it is the first to reimagine the classic set in a Muslim country.

AN OWN VOICES NOVEL WITH A FRESH SETTING: Soniah Kamal grew up in Lahore, Pakistan, and vividly brings to life the sights, sounds, and customs of the country, including the lavish details of a days-long Pakistani society wedding.

CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR: Kamal’s first novel, published by Fingerprint Publishing, an imprint of Prakash Book Depot in New Delhi, was nominated for a Townsend Prize for Fiction finalist and was hailed as “a wonderful novel” and “riveting and deeply engaging” by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner. Her short story “Jelly Beans” appears in the 2017 Best Asian Short Stories anthology, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and on BuzzFeed, among other publications.

PERFECT FOR BOOK CLUBS: Unmarriageable is in conversation with Jane Austen’s original novel, inviting readers to consider themes of class, race, gender, and love across cultures and time periods.

AUSTEN EXPERT: Kamal leads a 200th anniversary special Jane Austen Book Club in her home state of Georgia, and is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and the National Book Critics Circle.

Soniah Kamal is an award winning essayist and fiction writer. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and the KLF French Fiction Prize. Her TEDx talk, “Redreaming Your Dream,” is about regrets and second chances. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Catapult,The Normal School, The Chicago Quarterly Review, The Missing Slate, BuzzFeed, The James Dickey Review, and Literary Hub.She is a literacy ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.

Author Residence: Johns Creek, GA

Author Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

Marketing: Pre-pub consumer outreach and review push

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Publicity: National/local review and feature print attention

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Author Website:

Author Social Media: @SoniahKamal

“This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms.”People

“As with Austen, whose books could be read as fun and simple romances or acerbic examinations of class and women’s choices (and lack thereof), Kamal’s Unmarriageable succeeds in being both a deliciously readable romantic comedy and a commentary on class in post-colonial, post-partition Pakistan, where the effects of the British Empire still reverberate…. Both a fun, page-turning romp and a thought-provoking look at the class-obsessed strata of Pakistani society.”—NPR

“Distinctly entertaining…Kamal uses her comedy of manners, infused with tender humor, to comment on the sorry state of affairs for too many young women from this part of the Indian subcontinent…. If Jane Austen lived in modern-day Pakistan, this is the version of Pride and Prejudice she might have written.”Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Delightful…Unmarriageable introduces readers to a rich Muslim culture. It’s Pakistan circa 2001, when women’s rights were expanding but religious attitudes were becoming more strict. [Kamal] observes family dramas with a satiric eye and treats readers to sparkling descriptions of a days-long wedding ceremony, with its high-fashion pageantry and higher social stakes.”Star Tribune

“Thoroughly charming.”New York Post

“[A] funny, sometimes romantic, often thought-provoking glimpse into Pakistani culture, one which adroitly illustrates the double standards women face when navigating sex, love, and marriage. This is a must-read for devout Austenites.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Unmarriageable is a joy to read! It transforms a familiar story into something new and fresh and different, but keeps all of the warmth and intelligence of the original. I loved everything about these characters and spending time in their world.”—Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date

Unmarriageable raises an eyebrow at a society that views marriage as the ultimate prize for women. Crackling with witty dialogue, family tensions, humor, and rich details of life in contemporary Pakistan, it tells an entirely new story about love, luck, and literature.”—Balli Kaur Jaswal

“A book simmering with life, language, intellect—and delicious Pakistani cuisine. It will leave readers’ hearts and souls content and their mouths watering.”—Katherine Chen, author of Mary B

“The perfect book for the armchair traveler, offering an insider’s view into a fascinating country and culture—including a peek at what the wedding of the year looks like in Pakistan. This one is going directly on my keeper shelf; I loved it.”—Joshilyn Jackson, author of The Almost Sisters

“Charming and insightful, Unmarriageable connects the concerns of women across time and cultures in this delightful debut.”
—Vanessa Hua, author of A River of Stars

Unmarriageable is a joyride featuring all the beloved Austen characters with a Pakistani twist, drawing on universal themes of love, passion, and the healing nature of tea. I read it in one gulp!” —Amulya Malladi, author of A House for Happy Mothers

“Irreverent, witty, and imaginative…Austen herself would have enjoyed Kamal’s deft retelling of her novel, while sipping a cup of chai.”
—Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us

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