Back in Karachi for his father's funeral, Daanish, a Pakistani student changed by his years at an American university, is entranced by a girl in the traditional dupatta who appears one day at the house of mourning. But the dupatta is deceptive; Dia is the modern daughter of a mother who, as the owner of a silk farm and factory, has achieved a degree of freedom rare among Pakistani women. It will take a handful of silkworms, fattened on mulberry leaves, to bring Daanish and Dia together. But their union will forever rupture the peace of two households and three families, destroying a stable present built on the repression of an anguished past.
In this sweeping novel of modern Pakistan, Uzma Aslam Khan takes us deep into a world of radical contrasts, from the stifling demands of tradition and family to the daily oppression of routine political violence, from the sensual vistas of the silk farm to the teeming streets of Karachi—stinking, crumbling, and corrupt.