A Novel by Nagwa Malik


She continued walking. ‘Just because one knew my story (if I told them) doesn’t mean I’m the limelight of the situation. It only means there are many more like me—the world’s filled with them. I’ve seen two races and so I am a witness to the facts. The Indians and the British. Yet both act so superior—hollow in that.’ Then she snorted. ‘Why am I thinking of this anyway?’

But she couldn’t stop. The smell of her burning house still filled her nostrils even as the chilly breeze swept by her enticingly.

The screams that rang out were deafening; flames shot up everywhere. The screams were prolonged and were she, a little child of ten, not so scared, they would have been very irritating for they were constant; they were horror filled, they spelt death and terror.


I lived a life of monotone…yes, monotone. In my life I saw pain, courage, excitement—all what the audience would call “adventure”.

Perhaps at a turn the adventure ended being a monotone and took on a new meaning…

When Nain opted for a Sabbatical it was more of a break from her current life and job. Perhaps she needed to have a new perspective in life. Perhaps a change in view…literally. France. Her new perch until she figured things out, or so she thought, until she met that strange young man with the strange eyes and a scar tracing his jawline. Just as she was beginning to settle down she found herself facing a new decision: should she remain where she was in the serene and mundane refuge she had sought for herself or take the hand of the incredibly handsome Rafay and follow him down his world of adventure and chaos?


Nain did not have a normal life…not by our standards; coming from a world of war and perpetual death in Indian Occupied Kashmir, narrowly escaping to Pakistan with only half her family intact—barely—may have influenced her profession as a journalist. Life as a reporter and a photo journalist wasn’t that rosy either, but it suited her inner restiveness, her inner rage that she thought had finally died out. And now she wondered if she was right to continue along this path. Perhaps she needed a change in direction. Start afresh, to a place like France maybe?  Soon after she’d begun to settle down she met Rafay, a handsome young man with odd eyes and a scar tracing his jawline. Not only was he handsome, but he was audaciously flirtatious, and he promised adventure, excitement and danger—just the kind of life she thought she wanted to leave behind.

A Short Note About The Book

This book was written in 1999, and yet the topics, the themes and the subjects discussed are very apt today. This is the story about a 45 year old woman: single, a successful journalist and photo journalist, who embarks upon the next chapter of her life as she looks back on her life from her childhood in the war torn Indian Occupied Kashmir, to her escape to Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, the loss of her loved ones, the support of loved ones there to help her move on in life, and her experiences as a woman, as an Asian woman, as a single woman as she claims her stake in the world, travels around due to her job, faces discrimination in Europe, her thoughts based on her experiences and her outlook on life, history, current affairs and the various social issues. When she decides to take a leave from her current life in the form of a Sabbatical, she hopes that it would help her decide if she needed to revamp her life or if her past decisions that led her to this point were indeed right. And she finds her challenge very shortly after she begins her sabbatical in France: a challenge in the form of a British-Pakistani agent who gives her an offer to join him in his latest job. Would she take this offer? And if she did, would she live to regret it?

Touching all these topics and issues that we face today, and yet not letting the book be about them, but all about her and her adventures, the smooth way in which everything is said and yet unsaid, that is the delight of this story.


Why I wrote this book and why publish it now:

Written in 1999, t was one of my last works of fiction for years, until I once again started writing in 2013. When I wrote this novel, I was just about to begin a new chapter in my life: I was to complete my Masters and was making plans for my future. As one who is used to thinking long term and weighing all the options and variants, I put a bit of that “what-if” in this book: the plan of going to Europe, of pursuing one’s career, of the expectations I had from life. I did go to France later, I did go back to the UK as well, this time as an adult, and I did live to pursue my studies and even to pursue my career. And then now, as I suffered from depression and writer’s block, I decided the best way was to start digitsing my old works, and this seemed the best and most apt one to do. As I started digitising it, I realised how so much of what I had written about was now me… I have touched forty, and I am at a point in my life where I need to make major decisions…I was her. I realised this book needed to get out now: so many women were struggling, like me, struggling to make decisions, struggling with depression, especially with COVID, life has become really disoriented, and this book reflected it all and also encouraged taking decisions, looking for unconventional solutions…that it was never too late to restart one’s life, to change. And so, as a New Year gift, I released this novel exactly on New year, this year Jan 2021.

A NOVEL is available on paperback on amazon and kindle and on ebook on kindle, smashwords, nook, kobo, apple, and wherever books are sold. It is currently on discount on smashwords annual summer sale 75% off…offer ends 31st July 2021.

About the author

Author of The Terrific Three and The Mist series, Nagwa Malik has had national success for her writing abilities. Nagwa has an MA in Scriptwriting from City University, London, and has been an academic for the greater part of her life. She taught Languages and Scriptwriting in reputed colleges and universities in Lahore like Choueifat and BNU.  She resides in Lahore, Pakistan where she works independently as a Language Trainer and is now a full time writer. She loves nature, animals, her solitude and watching K and J Dramas. She is introspective, and it fuels her work. The Novel is the latest of her works being digitised for publication. Although she does not like talking about her upcoming work, she is working on at least two new novels that we know of.

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