The Wandering Falcon

The Wandering Falcon A haunting literary debut set in the forbidding remote tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan Traditions that have lasted for centuries both brutal and beautiful create a rigid structure for life

  • Title: The Wandering Falcon
  • Author: Jamil Ahmad
  • ISBN: 9781594488276
  • Page: 178
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A haunting literary debut set in the forbidding remote tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.Traditions that have lasted for centuries, both brutal and beautiful, create a rigid structure for life in the wild, astonishing place where Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan meet the Federally Administered Tribal Lands FATA It is a formidable world and the people who live therA haunting literary debut set in the forbidding remote tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.Traditions that have lasted for centuries, both brutal and beautiful, create a rigid structure for life in the wild, astonishing place where Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan meet the Federally Administered Tribal Lands FATA It is a formidable world and the people who live there are constantly subjected to extremes both of geography and of culture.The Wandering Falcon begins with a young couple, refugees from their tribe, who have traveled to the middle of nowhere to escape the cruel punishments meted upon those who transgress the boundaries of marriage and family Their son, Tor Baz, descended from both chiefs and outlaws, becomes The Wandering Falcon, a character who travels throughout the tribes, over the mountains and the plains, in the towns and tents that comprise the homes of the tribal people The media today speak about this unimaginably remote region, a geopolitical hotbed of conspiracies, drone attacks, and conflict now, told in the rich, dramatic tones of a master storyteller, this stunning, honor bound culture is revealed from the inside.Jamil Ahmad has written an unforgettable portrait of a world of custom and compassion, of love and cruelty, of hardship and survival, a place fragile, unknown, and unforgiving.

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    About "Jamil Ahmad"

    1. Jamil Ahmad

      Jamil Ahmad was one of the few English writers of Pakistani origin to have garnered attention outside his country Though his body of work was small and limited to one book, the Wandering Falcon and a short story, The Sins of the Mother, he is considered as a major writer among Pakistani writers of English fiction.Jamil Ahmad was born in Punjab, in the erstwhile undivided India, in 1931 After early education in Lahore, he joined the civil service in 1954,and worked in the Swat valley, a remote Hindu Kush area, near Afghan border During his career, he worked at various remote areas such as the Frontier Province, Quetta, Chaghi, Khyber and Malakand He served for two decades among the nomadic tribes who inhabit one of the world s harshest and most geopolitically sensitive regions With his mesmerizing and lyrical tales, Ahmad illuminated the tribes fascinating attitudes and taboos, their ancient customs and traditions, and their fiercely held codes of honor He also served as the a minister at the Paksitani embassy in Kabul during the Sovient invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.He married Helga whom he met during his London years, who was critical of his early attempts at poetry but diligently tried to promote his work She painstakingly typed his handwritten manuscript on a typewriter with German keys The Wandering Falcon, published when he was 79, was nominated for Man Asian Prize in 2011 He lived in Islamabad, Pakistan at the time of his death.


    1. Onvan : The Wandering Falcon - Nevisande : Jamil Ahmad - ISBN : 1594488274 - ISBN13 : 9781594488276 - Dar 256 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2011

    2. This is pretty interesting for a novel with no continuous plot and no appreciable character development. It was written by an eighty-year-old man who had a long civil service career in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas around the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. This is where the book is set. The chapters are only loosely connected, giving a broad view of the customs, laws, and lifestyles of the numerous tribes occupying the region. Their values and attitudes are so foreign to the Western mind [...]

    3. Recent events led me to starting this book, a choice that I now think I should have made ages ago. Then again, an earlier reading would not have resulted in the same breed of appreciation, not while I continued to adhere to the common formula of treating literature and politics as distinct and isolated entities. This is not to say that my interpretation is based on the current flavor of toxic vomit circulating in US media in regards to Pakistan, but rather that I acknowledged its insidious exist [...]

    4. Jamil Ahmad, The Wandering FalconJamil Ahmed is a talented writer and a gifted storyteller. He offers rare insight into the remote regions of Pakistan—the tribal belts. Like the landscape itself, the characters portrayed in these short stories are desolate, crude, unyielding and grotesque in their own way.Although these very strange lands are an integral part of my motherland, it pains me to say that I've never visited any of these places, and these very places—with their crude yet riveting [...]

    5. পাকিস্তানী সরকারি আমলা জামিল আহমদের চাকুরী জীবনের প্রায় পুরোটাই কেটেছিল পাক-আফগানের বুনো সীমান্তে - অর্থাৎ বালুচিস্তান আর পেশাওয়ার-খাইবার অঞ্চলে। অতিদীর্ঘ এই এলাকার ইতিহাস। এপথেই আলেক্ [...]

    6. This is a difficult book to review, although I must say from the start that I truly enjoyed it. If you read it, I have a suggestion. Pretend that you are at a library or an outdoor event, in a group gathered around to listen to a great storyteller. There is tea for everyone and perhaps some dates, nuts, and other little snacks. Then the 80 year old Jamil Ahmad begins to tell strange and wonderful stories about the people of the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.He gives some idea of the h [...]

    7. In the cracks and interstices of modern states (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) live people who do and do not belong; nomads and other tribal peoples who negotiate a life with several governments. This short work is a tribute to them, an account of them in concise stories and anecdotes. The slow courtesies of speech; a tribes’ immense tactfulness towards an old chief who has lost most of his eyesight but leads them out in action nevertheless, when obligation calls; this same chief with his antiqu [...]

    8. This book gets the distinction of a "one-sitting read". Aside from refilling my whiskey on the rocks, I just couldn't stop.Whichever publisher brought this book to fruition should get a bonus. Everything about it was perfect. Its cover w/ built-in leaf flaps, the uneven page cuts, the coverwork, the size. It's just a cozy book. The voice of this first-time author (at 80 years young) is unique. It is, endearingly, unromanticized or critical of its characters. He narrates tragedies and joys alike, [...]

    9. read two or three great reviews for this. The Guardian called it 'one of the finest collections of stories to have come out of south Asia in decades' These stories are set on the Afghan/Pakistan border 30 or 40 years ago, before the rise of the Taliban, indeed before the Soviet invasion, more concerned with the aftermath of the British empire (some place names have disconcertingly British names). It gives a great insight into the area - a place ravaged by sand storms (wind rages continuously dur [...]

    10. My goodness, I’ve only read two books from the Man Asian Literary Prize longlist and already I’d be hard-pressed to choose between them!According to the bio at Fishpond, Jamil Ahmad is a former Civil Servant who worked in the frontier provinces of Pakistan and also in Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul before and during the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. Now living in retirement in Islamabad with his wife, he has – at the age of nearly eighty – gained international recognition with this re [...]

    11. It took Jamil Ahmad eight decades to pen his debut novel about that border place where Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet…a hidden world ravaged by sand storms and hostile inter-tribe relationships.It is knit together through the life of one man – Tor Baz – the eponymous wandering falcon. Tor Baz is the orphan son of a Romeo-and-Juliet pair of lovers who defied the tribal code and as a result, were stoned to death by their tribesmen. He becomes a nomad in an unforgiving environment, where [...]

    12. It's possible that I am so ethnocentric that I don't appreciate the story-telling tradition and style of another culture. Either that, or this book was written terribly. To me it read like a realy choppy and uneven cliff-notes summary. I have no problem with the general device of having the main character of the story appear as a supporting character in each of the stories. In fact, if it were done right, it could turn out very ingeniously interesting and end up revealing a lot about the main ch [...]

    13. This novel did start on the right track. After I read the first chapter, all I wanted to do was to follow the path of this young child, who was born on an unfamiliar land between strangers he would never see again, and in one cruel moment, he witnessed the death of his parents and was left all alone. I thought episodes of anger, resilience and revenge would follow.However, through the following chapters, I was lost between so many tribes and boarders, poverty and misery, as if starting a new sto [...]

    14. Imagine late afternoon,the intense heat beginning to dissipate and a delightful langour overtakes you as your camel eases its pace and you gaze through half-shut eyes at the deepening hue of the sky. Don't fall asleep now! Now is an expanded moment in time,but it will change and you need to be alert.You need to pay special attention to the names of the people and places,for they will confound you when they reappear on your path. Above all,don't get lost but keep in mind your place off the map.Th [...]

    15. The Wandering Falcon is set in what is now considered to be a very troubled and indeed, very controversial area, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Afghanistan. Of of these areas, Waziristan, has been in the news for some time due to its fame as a Taliban refuge, but Ahmad's focus is on the numerous tribes who occupied this region prior to modern-day conflicts; he examines how they maintain their ways of life as modernity encroaches on traditional societies. The title character is Tor Ba [...]

    16. Raw, hyper-real stuff. The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad mesmerizes you with its spare, elegant prose. In this collection of interconnected stories, we get an unflinching glimpse at the lives of the people who live along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan: the Kuchi, the Pashtun, the Waziri, and others. It's a world rarely seen in books.There is a hard-edged beauty in the desolation of the landscapes described and the lives we see, but nothing is exoticized. Our Western sensibilities [...]

    17. I have taken a number of classes on Afghanistan and Pakistan…it’s history, the people, the culture, the conflict. It continues to come down to a bottom line that these countries are tribal in nature and that unless you understand the tribal culture, you can never understand the country. Because we look at life “through our eyes” it is impossible for someone who is not “inside” the culture to see it in its entirety and to convey it authentically.I was very happy to receive the ARC of [...]

    18. As I read about the book on the back cover, it did not ever cross my mind that that the book isn't a story about the wandering falcon. In fact he is a string with which stories are woven together. Stories of different tribes, strange, honorable, enchanting. As you read the nine stories, you are introduced to the wide variety of people stretching from Balochistan to Upper Chitral and then a little below. Jamil Ahmad sketches, with sharp wisdom and insights, the wanderings of Tor Baz. Sometimes we [...]

    19. Haunting, dream-like, vaguely connected short stories set in the borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan in a time that seems to vary between the 1930s and 1960s. Moving through the stories as both actor and observer, as hero and sometime villain, is Tor Baz, child of an adulterous couple killed under their clan's honour code. Ahmad sketches out the world where Tor Baz comes of age--- a world of deep poverty, of ever-present violence, of dying nomadic ways, of fears of a barely understood o [...]

    20. "These men died a final and total death. They will live in no songs; no memorials will be raised to them. It is possible that with time, even their loved ones will lock them up in some closed recess of their minds. The terrible struggle for life makes it impossible for too much time to be wasted over thoughts for the dead.What died with them was a part of the Baluch people themselves. A little of their spontaneity in offering affection, and something of their graciousness and trust. That, too, w [...]

    21. was impressed by writers insight about life and cultures of people dwelling on either side of Durand line , expressed through multiple short stories staring from balochistan to waziristan , tank , bannu tirah , mohmand and finally to chitral, the only link between these stories being TOR BAZ or black falcon. which is the least described character no character building or plot in whole novel (if we can say it a novel). the part i loved was description of my village Tirah . its almost been 9 years [...]

    22. Most of what I know about the part of the world where Pakistan and Afghanistan meet is through Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King. So you know I don't know much.But I do know that when Daniel Dravot and Peachy tried to use their guns and wits to conquer the tribes in this mountainous, inhospitable region, the tribal culture initially worked for them, then against them.This view of tribal culture, in which the individual may endure but does not achieve dominance, is but one of the conclusions re [...]

    23. Like many great novels, The Wandering Falcon is as much a story of a people as it is a story of a person. I’ve always wondered about the tribal regions at the borders of Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. What is it that makes governance so complicated in those regions? Who are the people that live there? The Wandering Falcon tells a story from that region, and in the process, tells the story of the region--or at least part of it.Written by seventy-year-old Jamil Ahmad, The Wandering Falcon is s [...]

    24. I was pleasantly surprised to have really enjoyed this book. It's a small book, but each story had quite a key impactful plot, which also gives you another layer of the zone the whole book is situated.The Wandering Falcon is a chance to showcase the daily lives of nomads and communities around the borderlines between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. It does follow the life of one character Tor Baz, but not as the main character. He comes in and out of each chapter, in some of them more strongly t [...]

    25. If one of the functions of literature is to develop empathy, this book is great literature.A beautiful and insightful glimpse into a little-understood - but much discussed - region of the world. Ahmad writes what he knows, seemingly without judgment; his prose seems to perfectly accompany any of the hundreds of photos from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border that one calls to mind from the last 60 years. He narrates the life of the tribesmen and women from this isolated land in a way that does not s [...]

    26. The Wandering Falcon is an absolutely beautiful book that explores the rich tribal culture of the Pakistan/Afghanistan area (officially known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas). It explores everything from politics to love to violence.The choice of making each story it's own stand alone tale is culturally significant and does more to explore the subject than if just the story of the main character (Tor Baz) was told. His part is actually as a minor actor in these tales, serving more the [...]

    27. I enjoyed this small, short book. I tried reading it as a regular novel, expecting character development of the main character as the story is told. This is more like separate stories where the original character sometimes appears. The stories are related by area and time period, but often are unrelated to each other.It is hard for me to imagine living as these people do - it seems so harsh and primitive to me - but this is why I plan to read stories from around the world - to see how it is to l [...]

    28. The opening few chapters are practically perfect in every sense, from story to style. The book wanders in the middle, which works thematically but is frustrating narratively. Still, the overall impact of the story is incredible. The language is poetic and simple, and the subject matter truly eye-opening for a Westerner. Highly recommended.

    29. Loved this. Tales of movement around Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nomadic people and boundaries. A short but eye-opening read.

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