Date of Award
Barb Ann Johnson
Mina is a young girl in a rural village called Tobay in Pakistan when her only friend Dhaaga, a family servant around her age, suddenly leaves. After a betrayal by her father’s second, much younger wife, Mina starts her long journey. She becomes a prostitute in Heera Mandi, the famed red light district of Lahore, and unexpectedly finds friends in a nearby transvestite brothel. Mina suddenly ends up with her life in danger when she tries to take revenge on the man who ruined Dhaaga’s life. She gets help from a human rights lawyer and escapes to safety in America with a New Orleans cabbie, who she met during her Heera Mandi days. She is eventually forced to come back to Pakistan and finally returns to her home in Tobay, where she finds that everything has changed as much as she has. The novel is set in 1980s Pakistan, when the country faced increasing religious pressure from its military government, and girls like Mina got caught up in stricter standards of honor. It is a coming-of-age novel that takes the protagonist around the world before she is able to finally face her djinns and demons.
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Shuja, Aneela, "Under the Pomegranate Tree" (2013). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1784.