Spotlight: Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

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Conjuring Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, BEFORE SHE SLEEPS: A Novel (Delphinium Books/distributed by HarperCollins; August 7, 2018) by internationally renowned author Bina Shah, takes the parable of women selected for breeding to a terrifying new level. In this dystopian thriller, women in the Middle East and South Asia have had their numbers drastically reduced by war, gender selection and disease making the ratio of women to men alarmingly low. The consequence is that women must take multiple husbands in order to produce more female children.

But not all women agree to submit. A female collective in Green City live in a dark underworld known as the Panah, emerging only at night to provide a commodity that nobody can buy: intimate, non-sexual companionship. But not even the most influential men of Green City can shield the women of the Panah from discovery and the dangers of ruthless punishment.

BEFORE SHE SLEEPS, written by one of Pakistan’s most talented writers, takes the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender selection and control over women’s bodies, and amplifies and distorts them in a truly terrifying way to envision a world of post-religious authoritarianism over women’s lives.

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About the Author

BINA SHAH is an author of English fiction and a journalist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories including Slum Child, which was a bestseller in Italy. A regular contributor to the International New York Times, she is a provocative and bold commentator for the international press on Pakistan’s society, culture and women’s rights. Her most recent novel, A Season for Martyrs, originally published by Delphinium in 2014, was published in France and India in 2016. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and an alumna of the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa.