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Shamim Sarif Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The World Unseen (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Despite the Falling Snow (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I Can't Think Straight (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Athena Protocol (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Wrote the Book, Made the Movie, Raised the Kids, Now the Blog! (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Shamim Sarif

Shamim Sarif is an award-winning English author of young adult, gay and lesbian books. She’s also a filmmaker of South African and South Asian heritage. Her work focuses on several themes including sexuality, gender, and race, and draws inspiration from her own personal experience with different cultures and non-heterosexual love. Shamim was born and raised in London, England. She graduated from University of London with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and from Boston University with a master’s in English.

Shamim’s debut novel, The World Unseen, has won a Betty Trask Award and Pendleton May First Novel Award. Several of her films, including the film version of The World Unseen have won different awards from the Phoenix Film Festival, South African Film, and Television Awards, and Clip (Tampa) Festival.

The World Unseen

Shamim Sarif debut novel The World Unseen is set in South Africa in the 1950s and tells the story of two women – Amina and Miriam- and how their lives impact each other. The two Indian-South African women fall in love in the racist and sexist society of apartheid South Africa.

Amina is the owner of the Locomotion Café. She dresses in men’s clothing and defies orders from local police who come into her café to harass the Africans working for her. She takes no guff from anyone. We are then introduced to Miriam, a pregnant housewife living with her family near Cape Town. When her husband lets her travel to the café, she meets Amina and the sparks fly.

Miriam soon relocates to the countryside and the ever DIY enthusiast Amina offers to build a garden in her yard. Amina uses her skills and experiences to get to know Miriam, bonding over evening tea conversing about oppression of marriage, her grandmother (who was a rape victim), and apartheid.

When Amina discloses clues at her sexuality, Miriam is conflicted. Her friend’s independent spirit inspires her but because she’s unsure of how to proceed, she stalls. Additionally, Amina showcases her nonconformist nature at a family dinner- much to the irritation of her grandmother, who plans the event to display Amina as a marriage prospect. And again Amina showcases her stripes when she protects Miriam’s sister in law from arrest and defies the police.
Miriam’s strength and defiance kick in when she tries to save a wounded African man. Unfortunately her husband never cares about her progressive attitudes and instead begins to treat her with increasing violence and paranoia, even as he continues with his affair with his brother’s wife. Throughout the story Miriam and Amina slowly fall in love together. The sexual tension and their chemistry are palpable as long glances lead to lingering touches and finally kiss. The primary question from this moment forward pits Amina’s dauntless against Miriam’s love and her place in the world as she knows it. Can Miriam and Amina ever make it work?

The World Unseen is presented as both a piece of real-life and an epic romance- all set in the context of racist and sexist society. The drum runs thick throughout, and the story provides the readers glimpse of everything from rape, oppression of marriage, racism in South Africa to sexism in Indian culture. Fortunately the story also avoids crushing under its weight thanks to the sexual tension and chemistry between the two main characters.
The characterization is brilliantly done, such that you’ll find yourself rooting for the main characters. Amina is a likable character. She declares her identity and fights for her freedom without losing herself or her playful sense of humor. Ray, Miriam’s husbands bring renewed strength to his wife- despite Miriam’s submissive nature. Both the main characters are presented within the context of tightly knit, traditionally rooted Indian communities with deep family ties and expectations. The complications of apartheid-era and racism and sexism make it that harder to defy the norm in this world.
The Athena Protocol

The Athena Protocol introduces us to Jessie Archer, a member of the Athena Protocol, who unleashes their version of vigilante justice across the globe. The Athena agents are trained to shoot not to kill, and when Jessie shoots and kills she is kicked out of the agency just before a big operation to hunt down a human tracking ring in Belgrade.

To the right her wrongs and prove herself worthy to the agency, she goes rascal and uncovers dark secrets worse than she had initially thought. With her former teammates on her every move and the clock ticking fast, Jessie will confront dangers from all sides if she is going to finish the mission and survive.
The Athena Protocol plot moves very swiftly, and soon we find ourselves transported to Belgrade, doing deadly things alongside Jessie. The story features some nail-biting moments that will leave you wondering who the culprit is and who’s the victim. Additionally there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you hooked to the last page. There’s also some serious slow-burn romance in the story.

Overall, The Athena Protocol is also about the relationships between women and the bonds of sisterhood. It transcends age, stereotypes, and cultures. These are the type of women who are supposed to have each other’s back because their type of work isn’t legal. The treachery between them genuinely hurt, but seeing them lift each other is quite satisfying.

Additionally, this story also focuses on complicated parental relationships that are genuine. There is the relationship between Jessie and her singer mother, Kit. Jessie’s mom never took time to bond with her daughter as a child, for she was always on the road. She only settled when Jessie was all grown up, and that’s the reason why Jessie grudging for her lost childhood. Fortunately, Shamim Sarif takes her time to build connection between the characters- both primary and secondary. Every character has their own thing going own, and this makes them feel real. If you enjoy books with rich diverse characters, non-stop action, and serious girl power- be sure to grab a copy of The Athena Protocol.

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