At the October gathering of Good Books & Good Talk, we take up Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif, a novel whose author has been called Pakistan’s leading English novelist. It is a grim world that we find in the novel. The action occurs in and around a Catholic hospital in a Muslim land, where the needs are staggering, the resources scanty, and the caregivers caught in various intrigues of corruption. In that sense, it is the book of Job: the reader wonders how God could have created a world so messed up. And then, along come small miracles of healing. And the reader wonders, is anything better as a result? Do the miracles make any real difference? It’s a novel rich, ambiguous, and cruel, yet in the end one that refuses to exclude the possibility of grace.
If you read it in advance, you are welcome to the discussion.