A Beautiful Lie – Irfan Master

An extraordinarily rich debut novel, set in India in 1947 at the time of Partition. Although
the backdrop is this key event in Indian history, the novel is even more far-reaching,
touching on the importance of tolerance, love and family. The main character is Bilal,
a boy determined to protect his dying father from the news of Partition – news that he
knows will break his father’s heart. With great spirit and determination, and with the
help of his good friends, Bilal persuades others to collude with him in this deception,
even printing false pages of the local newspaper to hide the ravages of unrest from his
father. All that Bilal wants is for his father to die in peace. But that means Bilal has a
very complicated relationship with the truth…

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13 thoughts on “A Beautiful Lie – Irfan Master

  1. We all find it a very hard thing to accept that some children have to take care of their sick parents and not the other way round. This is exactly what Bilal does but he does it in a different way to the usual. He does take care of him and help him with medicine and feed him but he does something extra which most children wouldn’t think of. He decides to protect his father from what is going on in the world outside him. The story is set during the partition of India and Bilal knows how much it would upset his father if he knew so he feels it’s his responsibility that his father doesn’t find out. This is a very strong story showing how good some people are and I really enjoyed reading about different cultures especially in the time of war.

    By Salma

  2. I found the historical context very interesting as I didn’t know much about it. Despite what other people have said I found this book easy to understand and I enjoyed it.

  3. I struggled to read this book as I got very confused throughout and found myself having to read about the history of India. But, it was a very well written book with a great story line and likeable characters.

  4. This book was really well written however I felt that you had to do a lot of research on India’s history and could not get into the book properly and struggled to finish.

  5. Despite not knowing much about the historical context of the novel, I am really enjoying reading this book, especially seeing the characters develop as the story continues. It’s interesting to observe the tension between the youngsters of India and their understanding of more prominent leaders of the country.
    I was particularly interested in the way that the author has portrayed the childrens’ feelings towards the racial and more harsh aspects of Indian history.
    As of yet, I have not finished this book, but I’m looking forward to reading what I’m sure will be a most impressive ending.

  6. Not one of my favourite books, I found this hard to get my head into, but that didn’t stop me from reading it!
    Well done, Irfan Master!

  7. Set during the partition of India in 1947 the story centres around a young boy called Bilal who tries everything to prevent his dying father from hearing about the partition and violence of the country, and during the book he and his three friends go to great lengths to prevent the truth reaching Bilal’s father.
    Although at first it just didn’t appeal to me, as I know nothing of the partition and it’s not really something I would read normally, but A Beautiful Lie is wonderful story. It is incredibly difficult to put down once you get sunk into it, which I found out when I read it in one sitting due to my inability to put it down.
    The book is well written with in-depth characters like Chota, Doctorji and Mr Pondicherry, who are some of the collection of brilliantly characterised people mentioned and developed in the book. As well as the characters I found that the book was very realistic with plenty of detail typical to the setting; A Beautiful Lie shows throughout how much research Irfan Master has put into making this a believable story.
    Apart from the the tendency to get slightly boring at times the plot is still very gripping. I would definitely recommend A Beautiful Lie particularly because of the different time and place it is set in that make it an unusual story.
    By Kathryn

    The way this story is written certainly reflects the title: beautiful. For the most part, the plot is gripping and informative, though some events do seem to last longer than they need to. Despite this, the tale of Bilal, a young boy intent on keeping the sad truth of the events happening in India during the partition from his Bapuji (father) is extremely touching and is ended brilliantly, yet not happily.
    All of the characters are easy to relate to, through the good characterisation and likeability of them. The group of boys trying to help Bilal reach his goal-Saleem, Chota and Manjeet- all have very different personalities and endings, meaning the story in turn is realistic and vibrant.
    I had never read a book in this setting before, so on top of being a very enjoyable read; it has informed me of something I knew little about and the possibility of other books about it.
    A great book; I would recommend it strongly.

    By Lauren

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I loved the relationship between Bilal and Bapuji and I loved the boy’s determination to keep the knowledge of the fate of India from his Bapuji. The way the religions drove a wedge between him and his friends broke my heart and I loved how the innocence of the children was portrayed, and how the children seemed to be wiser than the elders. The ending of the story brought me to tears. The relationship with his Bapuji was very strong and I loved how protective of his bapuji he was, even keeping his own brother from him. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it. I also can’t wait to read more of his books.

  9. At a first glance, the title made me think it was a story about a boy-girl relationship, perhaps some kind of love rivalry or triangle, so when I read the blurb I was both surprised and hooked. A deeply emotional story, I liked the relationship between Bilal and his father, and the deep friendship Bilal shared with his friends.

    This story made me both laugh and feel tears pricking at the corners of my eyes.

    I would definitely read this again, It shares number one place on my top three list!

  10. This is the very first book I decided to read. It started to be ok then it went a litle downhill from there this book was good but not good enough to enter my top three, sorry xx

  11. This book was well written as it was extremely emotional. Although I am not a fan of books that have history interlinked, I really enjoyed reading this book.

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