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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2012
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Description

From the author of the acclaimed A Case of Exploding Mangoes (“An insanely brilliant, satirical first novel . . . Belongs in a tradition that includes Catch-22—The Washington Post), a subversively, often shockingly funny new novel set in steaming Karachi, about second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in the most unlikely places.
   The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments need a miracle. Alice Bhatti may be just what they’re looking for. She’s the new junior nurse, but that’s the only ordinary thing about her. She’s just been released from the Borstal Jail for Women and Children. But more to the point, she’s the daughter of a part-time healer in the French Colony, Karachi’s infamous Christian slum, and it seems she has, unhappily, inherited his part-time gift. With a bit of begrudging but inspired improvisation, Alice begins to bring succor to the patients lining the hospital’s corridors and camped outside its gates. But all is not miraculous. Alice is a Christian in an Islamic world, ensnared in the red tape of hospital bureaucracy, trapped by the caste system, torn between her duty to her patients, her father and her husband—who is a former bodybuilding champion, now an apprentice to the nefarious “Gentleman’s Squad” of the Karachi police, and about to drag Alice into a situation so dangerous that perhaps not even a miracle will be able to save them. But, of course, Alice Bhatti is no ordinary young woman . . .
   At once a high comedy of errors and a searing illumination of the seemingly unchangeable role of women in Pakistan’s lower-caste society, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is a resounding confirmation of Mohammed Hanif’s gifts of storytelling and of razor-sharp social satire.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/29/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307958457
ASIN:
B0067TGTEY
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Mohammed Hanif. (2012). Our Lady of Alice Bhatti. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Mohammed Hanif. 2012. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Mohammed Hanif, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Mohammed Hanif. Our Lady of Alice Bhatti. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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        Mohammed Hanif was born in Okara, Pakistan. He graduated from the Pakistan Air Force Academy as Pilot Officer but subsequently left to pursue a career in journalism. He has written for stage, film and BBC Radio. His first novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, short-listed for The Guardian First Book Award and won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Novel. He was the head of the BBC Urdu Service in London and now works as their special correspondent based in Karachi.



      • name: Mohammed Hanif
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publishDate
2012-05-29T00:00:00-04:00
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title
Our Lady of Alice Bhatti
fullDescription

From the author of the acclaimed A Case of Exploding Mangoes (“An insanely brilliant, satirical first novel . . . Belongs in a tradition that includes Catch-22—The Washington Post), a subversively, often shockingly funny new novel set in steaming Karachi, about second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in the most unlikely places.
   The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments need a miracle. Alice Bhatti may be just what they’re looking for. She’s the new junior nurse, but that’s the only ordinary thing about her. She’s just been released from the Borstal Jail for Women and Children. But more to the point, she’s the daughter of a part-time healer in the French Colony, Karachi’s infamous Christian slum, and it seems she has, unhappily, inherited his part-time gift. With a bit of begrudging but inspired improvisation, Alice begins to bring succor to the patients lining the hospital’s corridors and camped outside its gates. But all is not miraculous. Alice is a Christian in an Islamic world, ensnared in the red tape of hospital bureaucracy, trapped by the caste system, torn between her duty to her patients, her father and her husband—who is a former bodybuilding champion, now an apprentice to the nefarious “Gentleman’s Squad” of the Karachi police, and about to drag Alice into a situation so dangerous that perhaps not even a miracle will be able to save them. But, of course, Alice Bhatti is no ordinary young woman . . .
   At once a high comedy of errors and a searing illumination of the seemingly unchangeable role of women in Pakistan’s lower-caste society, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti is a resounding confirmation of Mohammed Hanif’s gifts of storytelling and of razor-sharp social satire.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 19, 2012
        Absurdity and chaos reign in rising Pakistani author Hanif’s rowdy fusion of social commentary and curiously bloody love story. Being female, Catholic, and untouchable makes nurse Alice Bhatti a minority three times over in Pakistan, where “most of life’s arguments settled by doing various things to a woman’s body.” Impudent, headstrong, and possibly gifted with her father’s healing touch, Alice has risen out of the Christian slum, no small feat when most Catholic untouchables are sweepers. At the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments, Alice punishes those who would harm her, wielding a razor with the same nonchalance that the doctors wield stethoscopes; she dispatches one would-be rapist with blood-splattering ease. The perpetrators are often those who “wouldn’t drink from a tap that she has touched have no problem casually poking their elbows into her breast.” Her violence attracts Teddy Butt, a weightlifter and underling in the Karachi police, and soon Alice must navigate the surprising parameters of an inter-religious and inter-caste marriage. In this amusing novel, Hanif (A Case of Exploding Mangoes) renders the intricacies and limitations of Pakistan’s lowest rungs with humor and candor, allowing as little pity for his characters as they allow themselves. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 15, 2012
        In Hanif's (A Case of Exploding Mangoes, 2008) second literary effort, Alice Bhatti lives in a land where "most of life's arguments...got settled by doing various things to a woman's body." Alice is a young nurse, a Christian, in Muslim Pakistan. Alice is a Choohra, an untouchable. Alice is also a graduate of Borstal Jail for Women and Children. That's because outspoken Alice made an easy target at the end of her nursing training when blame needed to be affixed for a botched operation. Sentence complete, with the help of sympathetic but ineffectual Dr. Jamus Pereira, Alice has secured a nursing position at Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments near French Colony, Karachi's Christian slum. Outsider and renegade, openhearted and cynical, Alice is a strikingly memorable character. Willing to help teenaged Noor nurse his cancer-filled mother, Alice is equally willing to defend herself by razor-nicking the male member of the family of a privileged patient. Hanif's setting is spot on: Karachi as Karachi-Western-misperceived, squalor and discrimination perfectly logical alongside the "Gentlemen's Squad," an off-the-books police operation rough-riding through interrogations that produce dead witnesses. Alice is soon courted and married by Teddy Butt, a waxed-hairless, steroid-consuming body-builder and latent misogynist, who "provides valet parking for the angels of death" as the squad's combination errand boy and clean-up man. Much of the first two-thirds of the novel is focused on the artful setting and the deepening of character development, and then Alice, praying "in the heat of demented devotion," resuscitates an apparently stillborn boy. Alice is certain there are scientific reasons for the baby springing to life, but rumors of miracles soon fly around the hospital and out among the want-to-be-patients languishing under a courtyard tree called Old Doctor. It is there too that Alice rests to await her destiny. Laced with humor, often ribald and iconoclastic, this is an insightful tale of pain and love, a story of a quest for humanity and grace in a desperate, chaotic society.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        December 1, 2011

        Having made a name for himself with the bitterly funny A Case of Exploding Mangoes, about the unexplained plane crash that killed the Pakistani dictator, General Zia, in 1988, Hanif returns with a story at once intimate and likely as biting as his debut. Just out of prison and Catholic in Karachi, which isn't easy, Alice Bhatti gets a job as a junior nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital--a last-resort public institution. There, she and off-and-on police goon Teddy Butt fall in love. A novel of hope in a dark world, relevant to us all.

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

From the author of the acclaimed A Case of Exploding Mangoes ("An insanely brilliant, satirical first novel . . . Belongs in a tradition that includes Catch-22"--The Washington Post), a subversively, often shockingly funny new novel set in steaming Karachi, about second chances, thwarted ambitions and love in the most unlikely places.
The patients of the Sacred Heart Hospital for All Ailments need a miracle. Alice Bhatti may be just what they're looking for. She's the new junior nurse, but that's the only ordinary thing about her. She's just been released from the Borstal Jail for Women and Children. But more to the point, she's the daughter of a part-time healer in the French Colony, Karachi's infamous Christian slum, and it seems she has, unhappily, inherited his part-time gift. With a bit of begrudging but inspired improvisation, Alice begins to bring succor to the patients lining the hospital's corridors and camped outside its gates. But all is...

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