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Voices from the Past

Home FireHome Fire
Kamila Shamsie
Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire is a post-9/11 Antigone. This is signalled by the novel’s epigraph from Seamus Heaney’s 2004 translation of Socrates’ lines: ‘The ones we love . . . are enemies of the state’.

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Panch NovelettePanch Novelette – ۵ ناولٹ
Aziz Ahmed – عزیز احمد
Recently, a volume containing five novelettes has been published by Sang-e-Meel Publishers under the title 5 Novelettes; these five pieces of fiction may be taken as five drops from an ocean of writing by the prolific author Aziz Ahmad.

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The Bones of GraceThe Bones of Grace
Tahmima Anam
The Bones of Grace marks the end of a loose trilogy that Tahmima Anam began with A Golden Age (2007). That book distinguished her as a young novelist writing resonantly about the ruptures of war. Her research into the Bangladeshi liberation war of 1971 and its emotional aftershocks included testimonies from her own freedom-fighter parents.

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Iqbal and Atiya BegumIqbal and Atiya Begum
Zafar Anjum

Ten years after Iqbal is born in Sialkot in undivided India, a girl named Atiya is born thousands of miles away in Istanbul. Just as Iqbal’s father ran a business in Sialkot, Atiya’s father Hasan Ali Fyzee (1827–1903) ran a business in that Turkish metropolis

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Oh, So Now I’m Bangladeshi?
Zia Haider Rahman

TWENTY years ago, when New Yorkers asked me where I was from, all I’d say is that I grew up in Britain. Mentioning that I was born in Bangladesh drew only more questions, and New Yorkers simply wanted confirmation of what was to them the distinctive cultural marker: my British accent.

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Book Cover Summer RequiemSummer Requiem: A Book of Poems

My hands dissolve in water. / My body wastes away. / The air drifts past and through me / Each night and every day. // Bright darkness is my comfort, / Dark daylight is my friend, / And even I can’t rec­kon / Where I subsist or end.” The poem Bright Darkness adorns the back jacket of Vikram Seth’s new slim volume of poetry, Summer Requiem.

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ماڈل ٹاؤن کہانیاں – بلال حسن منٹو

Model Town Stories BookcoverLike many of you reading this, I think and read and write in English, even as I often speak in everyday, colloquial Urdu. The last time I attempted to write literary (or indeed any other type of) Urdu was over a decade and a half ago.

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Abdullah HusseinAbdullah Hussain: Memoriam (1931-2015)

“Sometimes people think I have been dead for a while and I encourage that impression because then I don’t have to take their phone calls or make excuses for not accepting their invitations to preside over literary events,”

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Model Town Stories BookcoverKarachi Raj
Anis Shivani

About half-way through Anis Shivani’s rambling, open, generous novel, Karachi Raj, a photographer named Tipu appears at the home of Claire, an American anthropologist working in the huge slum referred to as “the Basti”.

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Flood of FireFlood of Fire
Amitav Ghosh

Flood of Fire is the gigantic third novel in Amitav Ghosh’s extraordinary Ibis trilogy, a story of the Opium Wars told from the perspective of Indian and western participants, with a glance to the Chinese side, too

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City of SpiesCity of Spies
Surayya Khan

Political novels are not every body’s cup of tea. For me, being acquainted with the history of the country the story is set in is a prerequisite, as is a feeling of “connection” with the peoples around whom the political drama unfolds

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اقتباس – قبض زماں- شمس الرحمن فاروقی

نمیں بستر پر کروٹیں بدل رہا تھا،اس وجہ سے نہیں کہ میرے ذہن میں کوئی خلفشار تھا یا دل میں کوئی خلش تھی۔کبھی کبھی شام ڈھلتے ہی اور بستر پر جانے کے پہلے احساس ہو جاتا ہے کہ آج کی رات نیند نہ آئے گی۔مجھے کیفی اعظمی کے مصرعے یاد آئے،لیکن یہ خیال میں نہ آسکا کہ میں نے انھیں کب اور کہاں پڑھا تھا ؎

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Fire in the Unnameable CountryFire in the Unnameable Country
Ghalib Islam

This first novel by prodigiously talented Ghalib Islam, a graduate of the University of Toronto’s creative writing program, threatens on too many pages and in too many ways to bury its extravagant brilliance beneath the ruins of its over-elaborated architecture.

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The Sun That Rose From the EarthThe Sun That Rose From the Earth
Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

In his latest work, Shamsur Rahman Faruqi brilliantly spins stories of 18th- and 19th-century Urdu literati.A RICH and lovingly crafted tapestry of longish tales, critic-turned-novelist Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s latest book, The Sun That Rose From the Earth, is hefty, 600-odd pages of a connected narrative,

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delhi_heartDelhi by Heart
Raza Rumi

دلی جو اک شہر تھا عالم میں انتخاب
رہتے تھے جہاں منتخب ہی روزگار کے
اس کو فلک نے لوٹ کے ویران کر دیا
ہم رہنے والے ہیں اسی اجڑے دیار کے

This poignantly beautiful poem by Mir Taqi Mir symbolizes Delhi and for me is at the heart of the book by Raza Rumi as he lovingly traces the rise and fall of Delhi in his book “Delhi by Heart”.

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Liking Progress, Loving ChangeLiking Progress, Loving Change
Rakhshanda Jalil

The aim of this book is to trace the birth, development, and decline of the Progressive Writers’ Movement (PWM) in the context of Urdu, and study the reasons thereof. This study begins not with the first All-India Progressive Writers’ Conference in April 1936

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نولکھی کوٹھینولکھی کوٹھی – علی اکبر ناطق

In his debut novel, Ali Akbar Natiq makes political choices that are new, less politically correct and therefore daring.
Staying within his familiar eastern/central Punjab’s rural locale, where most of his earlier short stories reside, Ali Akbar Natiq’s debut novel Naulakhi Kothi is like a broad sweeping statement on the working of the Raj

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کئی چاند تھے سرِ آسماںکئی چاند تھے سرِ آسماں-  شمس الرحمان فاروقی

ناول میں ہندوستان کا ١٨١١ سے لے کر ١٨۵۶ تک کا عہد بیان کیا گیا ہے ۔ ناول کا مرکزی کردار وزیر خانم(پیدائش ١٨١١ ) ہیں جو مشہور اردو شاعر نواب مرزا خان داغ دہلوی کی والده محترمہ تھیں ۔ لیکن وزیر خانم کےاجداد دلی کے نہیں تھے بلکہ راجھستان کے گاوں ہندالولی (ہند الولی شیخ معین الدین چشتی کے نام سے موسوم )گاوں کے چتیرے (مصور) تھے

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Between Clay and DustBetween Clay and Dust – Musharraf Ali Farooqi

Set in an unnamed Pakistani city shortly after Partition, “Between Clay And Dust” unravels the lives of Ustad Ramzi, one of the greatest wrestlers of the land, who is now old and warmed only by the memories of his past, and the equally renowned Gohar Jan, a courtesan whose kotha once welcomed lords of the land

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The Coffee House of Lahore: A MemoirThe Coffee House of Lahore – K. K. Aziz

Before his death in July 2009, KK Aziz had accomplished one mission that he had set for himself, i.e. to write about the Lahore Coffee House, the glorious nursery of ideas. Luckily, despite his failing health, Aziz finished a draft that was meant to be a shining part of his autobiographical kaleidoscope.

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How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising AsiaHow to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia – Mohsin Hamid

How To Get Filthy Rich In Rising Asia, published in 2013, shows twelve simple steps that one must follow in order climb out of poverty, and become wealthy.
The protagonist is a boy who is addressed as “you” throughout the book.

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Manto & GhalibDozakhnama: Conversation in Hell
Rabisankar Bal
Translated (from the Bengali) by Arunava Sinha

When two literary giants- Mirza Ghalib, the quintessential classical Urdu and Persian poet of the Mughal era and Saadat Hasan Manto, a controversial short story writer of the 20th Century start a conversation, what follows is an unfolding of a history of a country that has withstood all seasons of change, years of colonial rule, partition and war

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Exit WestExit West
Mohsin Hamid
The tragedy of Europe today, Mohsin Hamid has suggested in his essays and journalism, is an inability to articulate a desirable future. Whether in Discontent and its Civilizations, his collected dispatches from New York, London and Lahore (the three cities he has called home), or his reflections on Britain’s response to refugees, he sees modern nation states as mired in an illusory nostalgia that forgets an ancient history of human wandering and scattering, of border-crossing and diaspora.

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To be with herTo Be with Her
Syed Afzal Haider

Syed Afzal Haider’s debut novel, To Be With Her, traces the journey of a young man perpetually on the move: from India to Pakistan as a young child during the partition; to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for college; then to Chicago for work; and, finally, home again, where Ramzan Pervez Malik, or Rama, must decide between old love and new.

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Surkh SalamSurkh Salam: Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947-1972
Kamran Asdar Ali

In a meticulously researched study, Pro­fessor Kamran Asdar Ali has presented a history of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) from its birth in 1948 to its being banned in 1954, barely six years later. In his book titled Surkh Salam/Communism in Pakistan he also covers the party’s influence on the Progressive Writers Association (PWA) and the labour movement 

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احمد بشیر
ﷲ حافظ
ہم نے ترکی، اطالیہ، ہسپانیہ، یونان، اور دیگر ممالک میں اپنے دوستوں کو ٹیلی فون پر سالِ نو کی مبارک باد دی – گفتگو کے اختمام پراطالیہ سے ہماری دوست نے “آری ویدر چی” اور ترکی سے ہمارے دوست اور ان کی بیگم نے “گُلے گُلے” کہا – اسی طرح دوسرے دوستوں اپنی اپنی زبان میں ویسے ہی الوداع کیا جیسے وه پہلے ہی کرتے آے تھے 
ہم نے جب کراچی فون کیا تو بات چیت کے اختمام پر وہاں سے “ﷲ حافظ” کی آواز آئی۔

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Auraq Khazani

اوراق خزانی
احمد مشتاق

احمد مشتاق کا تعلق یوں تو پچھلی صدی کی پانچویں دہائی میں ابھرنے والی اس نسل سے ہے جس کے شعرا نے اردو شاعری اور بالخصوص اردو غزل کو ایک نیا اور بہت خوبصورت موڑ دیا ہے ان کے زیادہ مشہور ہم عصروں میں ناصر کاظمی‘ منیر نیازی‘ احمد فراز‘ ظفر اقبال‘ شہزاد احمد‘ محبوب خزاں‘ اطہر نفیس‘ شہرت بخاری‘ ۔

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Intezar Hussein گم شدہ پرندے کی آواز۔۔۔ انتظار حسین
منور مسعود

انتظار حسین کے بارے میں لکھنا ، برِ صغیر پاک و ہند کی نو دہائیوں کی شاہراہ پر پیدل چلنے کا عمل ہے جو مجھ سے ممکن نہیں اور نہ ہی یہ میرے بس کی بات ہے۔ میں کوئی ادبی مفتی ہوں اور نہ ہی میرے پاس حکومتِ پاکستان کا جاری کردی ادبی لائسنس ہے کہ میں انتظار حسین کی شخصیت اور فن کے دریا کو ایک تاثراتی مضمون کے کوزے میں بند کر سکوں۔ اور اس وقت تو میرے پاس کوئی ایسی تصویر بھی نہیں جس میں انتظار حسین میرے ساتھ کھڑے ہوں اور میں نے ان کے کندھے پر ہاتھ کا بوجھ ڈالا ہوا ہو ، جسے میں فیس بک پر لگا سکوں۔

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Book Cover The Last King in IndiaThe Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah
Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

In one of the opening scenes of Satyajit Ray’s masterpiece, Shatranj kay Khilari, the camera pans out to depict the throne of Awadh. The throne is symbolically unoccupied. 

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The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai
Sharbari Zohra Ahmed

Sharbari Ahmed’s debut collection of short fiction, The Ocean of Mrs. Nagai: Stories, took her fifteen years to complete, including two years in graduate school at NYU 

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Mohammad Umer Memon PhotoMohammad Umer Memon on Contemporary Urdu Fiction

دنیا کے جو دو بڑے لکہنے والے ہیں اردو کے وه ہندوستان میں ہیں … شمس الرحمان فاروقی اور نیر مسعود …. یہ باقی سب بونے ہیں جو آپ کو پاکستان اور ہندوستان میں نظر آتے ہیں…

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Cafe Le WhoreCafe Le Whore
Moazzam Sheikh

It is difficult to decide which facts of an author’s life are relevant to a book review. A lot of reviewers have already made a big deal of the fact that Moazzam Sheikh is a Pakistani immigrant living in the USA.

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قصے لاہور کےقصے لاہور کے-  عبدل مجید شیخ

ء 47سے پہلے کی دلی اپنے کچھ ایسے فرزندوں کے واسطے سے پہچانی جاتی تھی جو اپنے آپ کو بڑے فخر سے دلی کا روڑا کہتے تھے۔ استدلال یہ تھا کہ ہم نے دلی کی بہت خاک چھانی ہے۔ ہر گلی ہر کوچے کی خاک کو ہم نے چھانا پھٹکا ہے۔ اس حساب سے دیکھیں لاہور شہر کا بھی ایک روڑا ہے۔ اس کا نام ہے عبدالمجید شیخ

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The Upstairs WifeThe Upstairs Wife
Rafia Zakaria

In the mid-1950s, when the Pakistani prime minister Mohammad Ali Bogra falls in love with his secretary, it occurs to him that according to the Islamic principles on which his country is governed, he would be legally within his rights should he take a second

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TThe Lives of OthersThe Lives of Others
Neel Mukherjee

Neel Mukherjee has delivered on the promise of his first novel. His second, The Lives of Others, currently long listed for the Booker Prize, is a tour de force, says Oindrila Mukherjee.

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The Golden PegeonThe Golden Pigeon – Shahid Siddiqui

The Golden Pigeon, Shahid Siddiqui’s debut work of fiction, is best described not so much as a historical novel but as a historical fantasy. Using the contradictions faced by Muslims in post-Partition India as the foundation of his story, the author has layered in elements of magic realism

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Family LifeFamily Life
Akhil Sharma

For a short novel, Family Life has been a long time in the making. It’s nearly 14 years since Delhi-born author Akhil Sharma’s first novel, An Obedient Father, was published, going on to win the 2001 Hemingway Foundation/PEN

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delhi_heartThe Dead River – Abdul Qadir Junejo

Thar is in limelight, again. But, this time, not for any odd reason.We have been hearing of deaths of children caused by severe drought in Thar for the last two and a half years. However, not all news coming out of this desert is bad.Being the repository of culture and folk wisdom, this arid region of southern Sindh is widely considered as nature’s open museum.

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Nasre Rashid Jahanنثرِ رشید جہاں

حمیرا اشفاق کی ترتیب و تدوین شدہ کتاب ’’نثر رشید جہاں‘‘ شائع ہو گئی ہے جو کہ افسانوں ، ڈراموں اور مضامین کا بہترین انتخاب ہے اور حمیرا اشفاق کی تخلیقی ، فکری و اختراعی صلاحیتوں اور ذوق مطالعہ کا منہ بولتا ثبوت ہے ۔بلا شبہ حمیرا اشفاق خود بھی ترقی پسند مصنفین کی صف میں شامل ہے ۔ ان کا انداز بیان اور سادہ ہے ۔ اُن کی نگاہیں جس طرح اور جس زاویے سے دیکھتی ہے اُسی انداز سے الفاظ کے زینے طے کرتی جاتی ہیں ۔ عام موضوع ، سادگی ، برجستگی ان کی پہچان ہے ۔

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A Rebel And Her CauseA Rebel And Her Cause: The Life and Work of Rashid Jahan

I’ve just received a copy of A Rebel and Her Cause: The Life and Work of Rashid Jahan. When I first read it in manuscript last summer, I thought it was probably the best book I would read that year, and six months later my opinion hasn’t changed.

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لفظوں میں تصویریںلفظوں میں تصویریں – ممتاز حسین

لفظوں میں تصویریں تصویر اور تحریر دونوں ہی ممتاز حسین کی شخصیت کا حوالہ ہیں۔ وہ برسوں سے امریکا میں مقیم ہیں۔ مصوری اور فلم سازی کے ساتھ ساتھ اُن کا رشتہ تحریر سے بھی جڑا ہے۔ مصوری اور فلم سازی کے شعبوں میں وہ اپنی فن کارانہ صلاحیتوں کا اظہار کامیابی سے کرچکے ہیں اور اُن کے فن کو امریکا، سوئٹزر لینڈ اور بھارت سمیت مختلف ممالک میں پذیرائی حاصل ہو چکی ہے

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The Wandering Falcon The Wandering Falcon – Jamil Ahmad

Four decades ago, a rangy civil servant in charge of overseeing the forested ridges and brick-hut villages of Pakistan’s Swat Valley sought a pastime to get through slow days. He dabbled in poetry, composing haiku in longhand.  His wife read the poems and called them “rubbish.”>

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غلام باغ غلام باغ – مرزا اطہر بیگ

سب سے پہلے تو 878 صفحات کا ایک ناول لکھ ڈالنا ہی آج کے دور میں کسی کرشمے سے کم نہیں، پھر کسی ناشر کا اسکی طباعت پر راضی ہو جانا بھی ایک معجزہ ہی قرار دیا جائے گا لیکن اس سلسلے کی آخری کڑی سب سے زیادہ محّیر العقول ثابت ہوئی یعنی سال بھر کے اندر اس ناول کا دوسرا ایڈیشن چھاپنے کی نوبت آگئی۔

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The LowlandThe Lowland – Jhampa Lahiri

The Lowland begins in Calcutta, against the backdrop of India’s 1960s Naxalite movement, an attempt at a Maoist revolution that unfolded first in a small West Bengali village. Two young brothers, Udayan and the slightly older Subhash, grow up in Tollygunge, a Calcutta neighhorhood , where they spend their days figuring out how

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منٹو اور چھاتیاں – محمد حنیف
بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، کراچی

Saadat Hassan Manto

تم پر کئی گھنٹوں کی جرح اور اُسکے بعد نصف صدی سے بھی زیادہ سوچ بچار کے بعد ہم اب تک یہ سمجھنے سے قاصر ہیں کہ تم عورت کی چھاتیوں کو چھاتیاں کہنے پر کیوں مُصِر ہو۔
تمہارا کہنا ہے کہ میں کسی عورت کے سینے کا ذکر کرنا چاہوں گا تو اُسے عورت کا سینہ ہی کہوں گا۔ عورت کی چھاتیوں کو آپ مونگ پھلی، میز یا اُسترہ نہیں کہ سکتے۔ یوں تو بعض حضرات کے نزدیک عورت کا وجود ہی فحش ہے مگر اس کا کیا علاج ہو سکتا ہے؟

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