It had been a while since I had read, “Season of the Rainbirds” by Nadeem Aslam and almost forgotten how much I loved it. I had just finished “The Blind Man’s Garden” and thought of going back to this one. To relive the reading experience and ironically enough I loved it more this time than I had the last time. Every writer’s first novel according to me gives the most insight to the kind of writer he or she will become and I believe in it to a very large extent. The first novel almost shapes the author’s sensibilities and what he or she wants to communicate as a common theme in almost every book thereon. “Season of the Rainbirds” set the benchmark for Nadeem Aslam, where I was concerned.
“Season of the Rainbirds” is a book set in a small town in Pakistan, centering on the reappearance of a mysterious sack of letters lost in a train crash nineteen years ago. This is then supposedly said to be connected to Judge Anwar’s death. From there on the story starts and the other characters begin to get embroiled in the plot. The differences in their opinions and lifestyles are evident and that is what makes them so different from each other that the read tends to be juicier. In such kind of a book there are secrets waiting to tumble and Nadeem provides us with just that. He gets into the skin of characters, so much so that in many places of the book you tend to think and more so believe that the characters have come from life, from people that he knew or knows of.
The plot seems to be thin in some places, however I ignored that because I was aware that this was his first book and also because I have read more of Aslam to know better. What got me going is Mr. Aslam’s ability to almost turn this to a parallel mystery tale: What is in those letters? Why did they turn up after all these years and how? Only a writer like Nadeem Aslam can know how to propel the story to his intent and engage the reader – both logically and emotionally at every page. To me, that is the power of true writing and to also manage that with a first book says a lot about the writer. I would definitely recommend all his books; however, “Season of the Rainbirds” somehow will always hold a very special place in my heart.