Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
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