In an interview, Bapsi Sidhwa insisted that she was not writing “overtly feminist literature” in The Bride; she went on to explain that she wanted the ideas to be embedded in the novel itself and added that she has little use for “didactic fiction.” Certainly, in this book she succeeds in avoiding didacticism and integrating theme with the essential ingredients of plot, character, and setting. The novel is constructed with admirable economy as it unfolds a complex story, introduces and develops numerous characters, and creates settings both exotic and realistic.

Because Sidhwa was writing in English about a non-Western society, she needed to forge new methods of storytelling. First, the story had to appeal to Asian readers of English familiar with the world she was re-creating. Second, the narrative needed to be clear and meaningful to the English-language reader abroad, who might be altogether unfamiliar with Pakistani history and traditions. She could not appear to be condescending to either group of readers by explaining too much, nor could she withhold details from her international audience. The Bride, Sidhwa’s first novel but the second to be published, had a good reception in Europe and the United States as well as in Pakistan and India.

Perhaps that acceptance has been attributable in large part to the simplicity of the prose and the force of the action. A prime example of these qualities is the few pages...

(The entire section is 571 words.)