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# Book Order

The End of Innocence

1971: While a savage civil war rages in East Pakistan, a thousand miles away in West Pakistan, in the safe, cosy village of Sabzbagh, life appears to continue undisturbed. An ancient preoccupation with family honour and social propriety dominates the lives of peasants and landed gentry alike. It is here, at her family estate in Sabzbagh, that naive, privileged nine-year-old Laila is spending her winter vacation. Lailas world is peopled by adults progressive parents, a protective ayah, and an imperious, old-fashioned grandmother. Adored and indulged though she is, Laila feels excluded from this enigmatic grown-up world. Much like the young heroes of her favourite Enid Blyton adventures, she yearns for a slice of the action, and with a best friend by her side. This friend is Rani the spirited teenage granddaughter of a family servant. Rani, however, is hurtling into a forbidden love affair, and when she becomes pregnant, she has no one to turn to but Laila. Eager but artless, Laila plunges headlong into helping Rani. As she flounders in an adult world she does not understand, Laila unwittingly unleashes a catastrophe. This is the story of a guileless relationship between two girls; and as the larger political reality unfolds tragically in the background, so politics is played with Rani. The End of Innocence is a coming-of-age story not just of two children, but of a country and an ideology.

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