Shroud of Honor is a short story about Abdur Rehman and Palwasha who belong to the tribal areas of Pakistan.
They fell in love but then Abdur Rehman had to leave for higher studies abroad. This story picks up from when he came back to find Palwasha gone.
As a Pakistani, I am always on the lookout for stories from my own country, and people from my own country writing such stories because they are easy to relate to.
I am, however, disappointed by the authors I have read so far (with a few exceptions off course). There is raw talent in so many of them, but I fail to see a polished and sensibly edited version of their writings.
Sami Shah’s work is a good example of poor editing, and now I am going to add the work of Zeeshan Khan’s ‘Shroud of Honor’ in the same category.
While reading Shroud of Honor, the first thing which bothered me was grammatical errors (changing tense from past to present in the same sentence when it is not required etc.) granted that there were only two or three of them but for me, these kind of errors in a published piece of writing are unacceptable.
The author has also failed to acknowledge the context of his story’s plot has among the masses and therefore he does not address the glaring questions which come to mind while reading it.
There is a fervently held belief in most of Pakistan that in tribal areas, there can be no friendships between a boy and a girl; however in this story two adolescents apparently meet each other without fearing for their lives, at the same time the boy was worried that she might be caught with a letter that he had sent!
The spine of the plot is solid and I think it could’ve been great if Khan had stuck to telling the story instead of trying to garnish it by forced prose. I did not like it at all, it seemed forced and unnatural.
For example “…it seemed his breath stopped and a sudden chill ran down his spine. He was unable to move for the next few seconds, overwhelmed by a sudden urge to either kill himself or the person who broke the news to him..”
The biggest negative, in my opinion, was the fact that the main mystery of the story was not solved and there is no hint given as to what might have happened.
I can see the genius that Zeeshan Khan has, and I would really like him to team up with a good editor and publish his novel about Quetta.
Even though I did not like this story, I would definitely buy his novel as there is something authentic underlying the whole story even if it has a lot of flaws.