Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Reviews of my short story Runaway Truck Ramp


By Khademul Islam in The Daily Star
Traditional concepts of personal freedom, social roles, the divide between public and private spheres are implicitly worked out anew, where these by now familiar themes of women's writing are given fresh life by the expressive, strange and rare eloquence of fiction writing. One spectacular example of the latter is Soniah Kamal's 'Runaway Truck Ramp', whose alert, acrid and very funny short story probes diametrically opposed notions of freedom and 'maleness' through the sheer physicality of a one-night stand between an American woman and a Pakistani man: “Essence said I could walk into a room, take a survey, hone in, chat up, take the boy and dispose of him afterwards like well-chewed gum, we the women of the millennium, and that's what I did: Take Charge. That's the type I fell under in a Marie Claire quiz. No mooning around and pining for a guy for me, and so here was Sully, I found him attractive, and so why not, except I just couldn't do my routine--pull him over, fondle him or just say, 'Wanna fuck?'”
read review here



By Talib Qizilbash in Newsline
Soniah Kamal’s ‘Runaway Truck Ramp’ is a standout story for openly tackling the quintessential Pakistani taboo subject: sex. Her approach is both clever and candid. It’s candid for the relaxed manner in which she delivers the details of a fling that quickly turns ugly for a young woman because of her partner’s double standards and his view that she is just “practice.” The cleverness lies in how Kamal explores inbred and distasteful attitudes towards sex, for her heroine is not a young Pakistani woman, but a white American who hooks up with a charming Pakistani man.
read review here

By Rasheeda Bhagat in The Hindu
A STRIKING aspect of And the World Changed, by 24 Pakistani women writers, is the candour, honesty and ease with which some of the writers handle the issue of sex and sexuality in contrast to the hypocrisy, awkwardness and double standards that engulf such issues in the entire Indian sub-continent. Whether it is Qaisra Shahraz's "A Pair of Jeans" or Soniah Kamal's "Runaway Truck Ramp", the readers are taken through the various shades through which our societies and cultures deal with skin and sex. The latter candidly describes the brief but stormy physical relationship between Sulaiman (Sully), a Pakistani student in the United States and Michelle, an American, who criss-cross across the country in a car, and, while doing so, grapple with two very different cultural reactions to oral sex.
read review here