Short Story Review: An Arranged Marriage by Aliya Anjum

This short story is based on the true incidents in the lives of four women, I met in the US. 23-year old Reem married 31-year old Iftikhar in an arranged marriage.

She had hoped of a joyous, beautiful life in America, with her husband.

Arriving in America, Reem discovered that everything about Iftikhar was a lie. Read the story of her suffering and eventual triumph, in the land of opportunity.


I find with short stories some are great as only time fillers, others have the ability to remain with you and possibly influence your feelings for a few minutes to an hour, and then there are the ones that resonate with you, having the capacity to stay with you for quite some time. For me An Arranged Marriage is the latter of the lot, reading it in a short amount of time due to its eighteen page length, I found myself being able to contemplate the story for several hours afterwards and can even recall the emotions it evoked days later.

An Arranged Marriage is both an account and a reflection of Reem’s hopes and disillusionment when it comes to marriage and her struggling with a change in ideals because of it. However, it is not a detailed explanation, but rather a summary as told by someone sharing their past with you as if you’re sitting down with them. I think the risk of feeling there is something left to be desired with a story being told in this way is a possibility, but I found it gave a greater sense of who Reem was and there was nothing lacking.

I have different beliefs when it comes to marriage compared to Reem, but I still found that I was able to identify with her, something of which occurred from within the first paragraph. Aliya’s writing has the sense of drawing you in, making you feel comfortable, helping to give that sense of at least being partially there and blocking out the world around you for a time.

While what Reem experiences is not a global practice, it is something of which can be felt globally. I’m referring to expectations here and I think Reem’s story is an example of what can happen to anyone going into a commitment such as this when they’ve built up certain ideas and placed what they’re anticipating on a pedestal. Not the arranged marriage part of it exclusively, but the shocks born from the event not turning out to be what they envisioned, and this can happen with anything in life when you have certain expectations that are not met.

An Arranged Marriage is a way to connect with another who has experienced something life altering to them, you can sense the confusion and simultaneously the triumph they’ve gone through, all while being left to ponder the interactions and beliefs reverberating throughout society.

  • Genre: Semi Non Fiction-Short Story
  • Demographic:Young Adults and up
  • Rating Out of Five: 4
  • Format: ePub provided with thanks from the author Aliya Anjum
  • Find At: Smashwords and Amazon.
  • Published: 2011

This review is part of the BA Mini Event: Journey With Aliya – eight days of reviews, guest posts, and for a chance to win an eBook copy of this story, plus Two Weeks of Solo Travel In Greece: A Pakistani Girl’s Diary, make sure you enter our giveaway!

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