Year 2050. Generally, when we talk of coming times, our imagination takes us to futuristic technology and how good or evil it can be. We limit ourselves to gadget and gizmos instead of real stories and happenings.
This book by A.K. Asif is a refuge from all the similar plot lines and super imaginative technological advancements.
The story talks about a Pakistani boy Ismael, who leaves his country to settle in USA, in a move to be away from an orthodox father at the age of 18. Now as a self proclaimed atheist at 30, writing his thesis on the concept of Paradise and Hell.
His accidental meet with a woman named Petra, suggesting him to go and find clarity of thoughts in an Ayahuasca ceremony at Yage Yoga Center; little does he know about the upcoming hurricane of events where he will be dictated to complete a mission. He is asked to go back to Pakistan and mend ways with his father, who closely worked with Khalifa.
Babu, you’re going to help us clean up a big mess.
These words kept ringing in his mind.
Back in Pakistan, Ismael has his passport checked by a man with a gigantic beard and thinks,
I was now in a land where size definitely mattered.
Coming out of the Airport and stepping into Lahore, he is bewildered to find his country torn and trashed with regressive mindset and extremist thoughts. Between Djinn cats, Paradise water, Hoor Afsah, suicide jackets; he tries to live yet another hour without getting murdered due to his liberal thoughts.
A journey of a non believer amidst people who are ready to kill in the name of religion in order to gain paradise; is indeed a hell ride. In the process of surviving and trying to break into a sanctum of extreme believers, gaining trust and fulfilling the unknown mission; he gets caught up amidst greed and lust. Will he come out of his own sins? Will he finally know whether Paradise is real or not? Will he be able to complete his mission which he has no knowledge about?
Hell! No Saints in Paradise, is a piercing satire set in a dystopian world which is both, bizarre and creepy in its own manner. The Author has successfully blended fiction, mythology, religion and fantasy into a cocktail of psychedelic journey of how a simple misinterpretation of religion can lead to a catastrophe. It questions our rationality and inherent humanity that seems lost somewhere.
“It’s all within. The whole Cosmos!”
It does not question the religion, it questions the people who direct religion in their own selfish ways. This book will make you think and hammer you with strong plot exactly when you start to get comfortable.
One pack of wolves doesn’t punish, persecute or kill another pack of wolves because they eat a different meat. Or have a different colour of fur.
I feel at peace to finally read this intelligently written book.
I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.