The Empty Room by Sadia Abbas: A story of love, art & loss in the midst of political turmoil.

Author: Sadia Abbas

Publisher: Zubaan Books

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Hardback


In 1970s Karachi, where violence and political and social uncertainty are on the rise, a beautiful and talented artist, Tahira, tries to hold her life together as it shatters around her. Soon after her wedding, her marriage is revealed to be a trap from which there appears no escape. Accustomed to the company of her brother, Waseem, and friends, Andaleep and Safdar, who are activists, writers and thinkers, she struggles to adapt to her new world of stifling conformity.

Tragedy strikes when her brother and friends, are caught up in the cynically repressive regime. Faced with horror and injustice, she embarks upon a series of paintings entitled ‘The Empty Room’, filling the blank canvases with vivid colour and light.

​ Poetic, elegant, and powerful, The Empty Room is an important addition to contemporary Pakistani literature, a moving portrait of life in Karachi at a pivotal moment in the nation’s history, and a powerful meditation on art and on the dilemmas faced by all women who must find their own creative path in hostile conditions.

By Shumaila Taher

I am Shumaila Taher, editor and writer.
I exist in between the pages of a book.

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