Title: Before She Sleeps
Author: Bina Shah
Publish Date: August 7, 2018
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In modern, beautiful
Green City, the capital of South West Asia, gender selection, war and
disease have brought the ratio of men to women to alarmingly low levels.
The government uses terror and technology to control its people, and
women must take multiple husbands to have children as quickly as
Yet there are women who resist, women who live in an
underground collective and refuse to be part of the system. Secretly
protected by the highest echelons of power, they emerge only at night,
to provide to the rich and elite of Green City a type of commodity that
nobody can buy: intimacy without sex. As it turns out, not even the most
influential men can shield them from discovery and the dangers of
This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale
about women’s lives in repressive Muslim countries everywhere. It takes
the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender
selection, and control over women’s bodies, amplifies and distorts them
in a truly terrifying way to imagine a world of post-religious
My Two Cents:
In Green City, it is the job of every woman to take as many husbands as the government allows and to have as many babies (hopefully many female babies) as they can in order to overcome the gender crisis that has left Green City with many more men than women. It is very mechanical and there is not much room for love and affection. The women of the underground fulfill the need for touch and affection of the non-intimate kind but when one of the powerful men that employ their services goes too far, everything will be upended.
I love dystopian and was looking forward to reading this one, which takes place outside of the Western world in South West Asia. This part of the world has a very interesting history that led to a great background for how this story transpires. I loved that the setting of this book was off the beaten path.
The story follows three women who all have very different reasons for ending up where they are. They all handle their lives in the underground of society in some way. Some are happy with their existence out of the eye of the government, others would give anything for things to be different and to find some sort of genuine love. Others just want to watch the world burn. I loved seeing how these very different woman deal with this difficult situation that they find themselves in. I did wish that we got to know a little bit more about these characters and what makes them tick.
The book has nice pacing but I wish that the end would have not come so abruptly. It's a great ending but I found myself wondering what happened after the end of the book. More of a conclusion would have been nice. Overall, this was a good read!