Coming of Age novel set in Pakistan and London
To Lahore (and London) with Love – Hina Belitz – If food be the flavour of family – read on. This novel takes a woman with a wonderful mix of cultural identities and takes her to Lahore where she discovers her heritage and identity through food. It’s more than that of course, but the richness of the recipes and what they stand for are a firm strength of the novel.
Setting: Food heaven!
Before reading this novel, you really should eat something. You’ll be reaching for something tasty not long after you start reading anyway. That’s before you head for the cookbooks afterwards!
Think Nadiya Hussain when you read this book. It’s got that same friendly and homely vibe as she does. The way she talks about food, family and the relationship between culture and food are just what the characters do in this novel. Food here is all important for it not only bonds, but nurtures people and families. In this house, food is what holds the women together more than anything.
The characters are as richly created as the recipes themselves. Addy is a mixture of Irish and Pakistani living in London for example so she struggles with her identity. Ger grandmother takes her and her friend to Lahore but far from finding out about her family and heritage, she finds out a whole lot more along the way. As she learns about her Pakistani heritage, so too does she learn about food, the texture of it as well as the taste. This is the food that will heal not just her stomach but her heart and soul as well.
With the buzzing backdrop of Lahore, this is a novel to taste and savour slowly. It’s bright and lively, the culture, food and heritage richly evoked. A nice, short novel packed with flavour and punch. It’s filling and you’ll need to sit a while afterward to digest all that you read.
A novel where women’s strength and resilience is key. A journey where it’s not the food but the people whose flavour which lingers afterwards.