the good book corner

Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

What Will You Give For This Beauty by Ali Akbar Natiq


The Good Book Corner featured short stories all November2014. With author features, excerpts, reviews and interviews, and writings of greats like Ruskin Bond, Anton Chekov, Ismat Chughtai, Saadat Hasan Manto and Rudyard Kipling, we were transported back to a time when stories were actually short and sweet.

Ali Akbar Natiq’s Urdu stories translated into English and published by Penguin Books, brings forth ‘What Will You Give For This Beauty?’, a collection of short stories from rural Punjab in Pakistan. The stories have been translated primarily by Ali Madeeh Hashmi and some by Awais Aftab and Mohammed Hanif. While ‘A Mason’s Hand’ tells the sad story of Asghar, ‘The Share’ talks about Sher Singh’s unrelenting love for Sheedan, which made him stay back when his family crossed over to India.The stories are mainly set in bordering villages with the shared waters of Sutlej and Beas.

The tales would be similar across borders in the Subcontinent and relate to the trivial and routine aspects of daily life in the countryside. Violence, gossip, feuds and longing resonate through each story with colours of hope as well as acceptance in the will of the Supreme Being.There are undertones of class distinction, animosity and differences based on religious beliefs. But in the end, life goes on without much of the hullabaloo that one finds in larger towns and cities.

Ali Akbar Natiq began working as a mason, specializing in domes and minarets, to contribute to the family income and he read widely in Urdu and Arabic. Critically acclaimed for his two volumes of poetry, Natiq enters the world of subtle yet impacting urdu prose with praise from all quarters of the limited yet rich world of Urdu literature.

A warm definite read.

What Will You Give For This Beauty

Ali Akbar Natiq

Penguin Books

209 pages

Rating- 3/5



About artikabakshi

Artika Aurora Bakshi Artika co-manages She comes from a family of lawyers and has a master's degree in International Banking & Finance. Currently based in Sri Lanka, she teaches Commerce and History on a part-time basis at an international school and enjoys being part of the literary scene in Sri Lanka. A regular at the Galle Literary Festival and other literary events in Sri Lanka, Artika's articles and book reviews have featured in the Daily Mirror and Daily News and various blogs, such as,,, She is actively involved with SAARC Women's Association of Sri Lanka. An avid reader, Artika runs an online book club with a membership base of over 600 members. Her passion for reading has led her to helping other writers with their manuscripts. Her short stories have been published online and she is also working on her own novel. Artika has published My Little Sikh Handbook and is currently working on her second children's book, with Sikhism as its central theme. You can reach Artika at .

One comment on “What Will You Give For This Beauty by Ali Akbar Natiq

  1. thefictiontimes
    March 21, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Fiction Times.


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This entry was posted on March 21, 2015 by in Book Reviews, short stories and tagged , .
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