A literary work, fiction or non-fiction, when inspired from reality, touches the readers’ hearts in no time because of being relatable and close to life at the same time. Samman Akbarzada’s “Life is a Movie” is a poignant account of a work deeply rooted in reality and created in a world of fiction simultaneously. Akbarzada’s book, a product of all that has happened in the present or may happen in the future, has detailed descriptions from the view of an ordinary citizen who suffers for the fault of others.
As the book begins, the social discrimination based on gender is shown, which continues to be a characteristic to define civilization even in the present day. The beginning is from a presumed happily ever after, and the author shows the game that begins after that. It is interesting to note how the author keeps the number of characters concentrated and minor characters come and contribute to the development of the plot, yet the canvas of “Life is a Movie” seems to have a good number of people to explore the different lives on the lands of Afghanistan. The mother-son duo, who are majorly the centre of focus, show their vulnerabilities and circumstances they face because of being double marginalized in the sense of being economically weak and nowhere close to the male counterparts who are more or less absent physically.
In the parallel, Akbarzada’s “Life is a Movie” explores themes that wrench the hearts of the readers and make them feel the problems of the characters like they were their own. It arouses different emotions in them, ranging from feeling sad, angry, pitiful, hopeless and also making them want to get inside the book to make the lives of the characters a bit better. Rukhsaar and her son, Masih, suffer for no fault of their own. They are subjected to all sorts of troubles and turmoil and the only difference makers are the tough decisions they have to make to both save their lives and also keep attempting to be the owners of their destiny. Through them, the author shows the fate of the innocent, which would remain the same on whatever land they live in. This makes the novel a work of universal appeal and relevance. It makes the readers ponder the fate of the many unheard and silent voices that have gone down in history and will continue to go down due to various factors that dominate socially and economically.
“Life is a Movie” as per the title, may sound a depiction of the ideal utopian world from the eyes of the author, but as the readers open the first page of the novel, they get a thorough idea of the book being nowhere close to the ideal and rather deep-rooted in the real. In this sense, the title sounds more of a metaphor, and the associations remain open as per the readers’ thinking. Alongside, Akbarzada talks about the social divide based on gender, women having no identity of their own, and amidst this, how the protagonist tries to create a room of her own, the evils of the world eying the innocent and pouncing on them on getting even a little window of opportunity. At the same time, through Rukhsaar’s mother-in-law, the author also shows a different side of patriarchy which would otherwise be missed from observation. These and many other factors make the book provoking and strongly appealing to readers who have an interest in reading content having a potent influence of reality.
Masih’s fate as a bright young boy makes the readers’ feel his sorrow and can also relate to the many Masihs out there who have been unheard and never got a voice in the notes of history. “Life is a Movie” shows him having a little fun in the early phases of the novel, but as situations change, he matures in the very early years of his life by taking up responsibilities and shouldering with his mother when poverty is hell-bent on breaking their backs. He becomes a representative of the many children like him who are subjugated and suffers one way or the other due to the doings of others. Altogether, the book can be read by all those readers who the present-day reality and are ready to read it in the starkest form. Akbarzada chooses to keep the language refined and simple with frequent references to the native land to root her work firmly on the land. It takes the readers to the land they may not have visited and also gives them a close glimpse into the lives of ordinary women and children closely while giving a brief account of the lives of men. “Life is a Movie” by Samman Akbarzada is recommended to all readers who read both fiction and non-fiction to understand life in its true sense.