The award-winning author of Home Fire delivers a characteristically insightful and compelling examination of identity, friendship and the contradictions of contemporary London as two Pakistani women confront the disturbing ghosts of their past.
A dazzling new novel of friendship, identity and the unknowability of other people – from the international bestselling author of Home Fire winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Fourteen-year-old Maryam and Zahra have always been the best of friends, despite their different backgrounds. Maryam takes for granted that she will stay in Karachi and inherit the family business; while Zahra keeps her desires secret, and dreams of escaping abroad.
This year, 1988, anything seems possible for the girls; and for Pakistan, emerging from the darkness of dictatorship into a bright future under another young woman, Benazir Bhutto. But a snap decision at a party celebrating the return of democracy brings the girls’ childhoods abruptly to an end. Its consequences will shape their futures in ways they cannot imagine.
Three decades later, in London, Zahra and Maryam are still best friends despite living very different lives. But when unwelcome ghosts from their shared past re-enter their world, both women find themselves driven to act in ways that will stretch and twist their bond beyond all recognition.
Best of Friends is a novel about Britain today, about power and how we use it, and about what we owe to those who’ve loved us the longest.