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HOUSE OF PEACE by NAZIA PEER
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Synopsis

House of Peace is the title of the debut, breakthrough novel written by Nazia Peer ("Peer"). The title has been inspired by the name of the lavish Johannesburg residence ("Salaamat" which is the Arabic name for Peace) from which the plot unravels. In a fast-paced novel, Peer manages to weave her tapestry over a few short but eventful days. In one weekend, the protagonists, numerous as they are, find themselves faced with a number of revealing insights into their own lives each faced with their own, unique, compelling reality that, it appears, will singularly change their worldview. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, House of Peace breathes a fresh and charming air into South African literature. Salaamat is occupied by Malik, youngest brother of six, his mother Miriam and his austere, somewhat patriarchal, father, Shahid. The six sons, all connected to the medical world, are, on the surface, very successful.

Their father's background, shrouded in some mystery, is a source of some interest. It appears that he was in some way connected to a liberation movement in the Middle East but settled in South Africa many years previously. Through discipline and encouragement he managed to open up the world to his sons. Farouk, a government minister, has used the opportunity best but through his arrogance has isolated the people around him. Every house has a nucleus and Salaamat is no exception and whilst his life is literally far-removed from his familial home, Mustafa, who epitomises serenity, is the living force which gives character to the home. With grace and calm, he diffuses several volatile situations and guides, even the older ones, his siblings to a state of enlightenment. Since the book does tackle difficult issues, the family also experience some personal tragedy over the weekend brought on by self-discovery and inner exploration. The stand-out characters, because of the changes in their realities and because of the sharp contrast between the two, must be Farouk and Malik. The former's haughtiness is reduced to a personal state of impoverishment which leaves one feeling little sympathy for him whilst the latter, who appears to be filled with self-doubt, breaks a mould which keeps him captive.

What unfolds over the weekend is a bitter-sweet tale about a remarkable, yet ordinary, South African family grappling with issues in the context of an evolving society. It is a great pity that it has taken so long for a book like House of Peace to be written because it explores the lives of a community the Indian, muslim community that has had no small role to play in changing the shape of South African history. On the path to understanding, tolerance and reconciliation, it will go some way in helping us understand the origin of these vibrant, industrious people. It also goes some way in expunging the myth about Muslim fanaticism, which, if nothing else, is refreshing. Most of all though, and at its heart, it is a simple story about love and compassion.

SOLD 1000 BOOKS IN THE FIRST 6 MONTHS

GUEST SPEAKERS AT LAUNCH INCLUDED PROF FATIMA MEER, DR DON MATERRA, DR CASSIUS LUBISI AND DR ASHWIN DESAI

DR PEER HAS BEEN INTERVIEWED ON SAFM BY NANCY RICHARDS, APPEARED ON BETWEEN THE COVERS

HOUSE OF PEACE WAS VOTED ONE OF THE TOP 12 BOOKS ON LOTUSFM FOR 2005 BY KRIVANIE PILLAY

DR PEER WAS A SPECIAL GUEST ON CHANNEL ISLAM INTERNATIONAL

HOUSE OF PEACE IS A MADIBA BOOKS PUBLICATION

SHE APPEARED ON MORNING LIVE WITH VUYO MBULI AND INTERVIEWD BY AN-NUR ON SABC1

NAZIA PEER WAS INVITED TO DO READINGS AT THE FIRST EVER CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR IN JUNE 2006

NAZIA PEER WAS A SPECIAL GUEST AND SPEAKER AT THE DISCOVER ISLAM EXHIBITION IN AUGUST 2006

DR PEER IS FEATURED IN THE SEPT 8TH ISSUE OF THE MAIL AND GURADIAN UNDER AUTHOR'S NOTES

PROFITS OF HOUSE OFPEACE ARE GOING TO CHESTERVILLE NXUMALO SCHOOL IN CHESTERVILLE, DURBAN FOR SCHOOL FEES

salaamat11@yahoo.com