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Being middle class in Pakistan

A group gathers in Pakistan.

Image of The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family's Day of Reckoning in Lahore
Author: Haroon K. Ullah
Publisher: PublicAffairs (2014)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages

Middle class life in Pakistan isn’t that different from middle class life in the United States, says Haroon Ullah. Or at least, he hopes you’ll come away with that message after reading his new book, “The Bargain at the Bazaar: A family’s day of reckoning in Lahore.”

The book follows the Reza family and their three sons as they attempt to maintain normalcy in an increasingly tense environment.

Ullah says he met the family at a dinner party in Pakistan 10 years ago.

“They are very blue collar and yet they’re able to, as a family, find a way to move on amidst the sort of tragedy that they often times experience.”

The Rezas shared their story with Ullah over many evening meetings over mangos, what Ullah calls “the best ice breaker in the world.”

The oldest Reza son followed in his father’s footsteps to run the family shop at the local bazaar. The youngest son went to school to become a lawyer. But it was the middle son who would most worry his mother and father when he joined a militant Islamist group.

“The parents would tell me, 'Did we do something wrong? Did we fail as parents?'” says Ullah. “They want better for their kids than they had for themselves. They’re willing to sacrifice everything.”

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Image of The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family's Day of Reckoning in Lahore
Author: Haroon K. Ullah
Publisher: PublicAffairs (2014)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages

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