East Pakistan, 1968: In Sariyah's village, shame is a virtue she never mastered. As a child, she learned to read in secret, kept talismans against her father's orders, and questioned everything, even Allah. Now she is practicing how to be a "woman with shame," torn between promises to her family and to herself. She yearns to join a movement with her fellow Bengalis, who are gripping onto their language and cultural identity against colonial powers - but she is continuously sucked into the narrow visions of her father.
In the midst of all this, an American has come to teach English. Rodney Creed bursts into this tension-filled world with the bright optimism of a college graduate, too eager to sense the rumbling ground beneath him—until he meets Sariyah. When worlds collide this way, there is no telling who will be shaken the most.
Rodney believes he is there to teach, but he will learn painful, irreversible things. Without Shame
is a love story at its core—but not in the traditional sense. It's about love of one's country, culture, God, and language. It's about the power of identity to shine through when other forces threaten to overshadow it.