Rafina- Book Review

Author: Shandana Minhas

Publisher: Picador India (a Pan Macmillan India imprint)

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 163


Rafina looks at the glamorous girl on the billboard outside her window in Karachi and thinks, It won’t be long before I’m up there. Too poor for college and dismissive of marriage, the clear-eyed young woman cajoles her mother’s friend and Radiance beauty parlour masseuse, Rosie Khala, into taking her on as an apprentice. Thus begin her brave misadventures – from clumsy parlour assistant, to mostly dependable tea girl, till in a stroke of serendipity, she is ‘discovered’. Poised to have everything she thought she wanted, the only thing standing between Rafina and that billboard are the people who think she should still be using the service entrance.


This book mirrors the darkness amidst the cut-throat fashion industry. Career is volatile, people running the industry can be very very ruthless, no one can be trusted. Society has certain viewpoint on this industry and people (especially women) who are a part of it.

Then we see the struggle Rafina faces from being a nobody to somebody, from living in favours from others to owning an accommodation for her family.

However, the story was deficit in substance and depth. The characters seemed one-dimensional. No twists and turns, no surprises, The ending seemed abrupt.

I had a lot of expectations from the book after reading the praises for the author’s other works by writing stalwarts like Mohammad Hanif and Namita Gokhale. But I was disappointed.

My Rating: 3.8/5 🌟

P.S. I had received this ARC in exchange of an honest review. Thank you Pan Macmillan India

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