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It had all begun so well, just like how things ended in fairy tales…
Faiqa Mansab’s award-winning thesis is the foundation on which This House of Clay and Water has been built.
Intertwining the stories of the affluent, yet ever-seeking Nida, the middle-class Sasha, whose dreams have made her break all her shackles, and Bhaangi, the flute-playing Hijra, Faiqa Mansab steers the readers towards existential introspection, especially in context of the prescribed norms and cultural ethos of the subcontinent, Lahore being the centre stage for this soulful narrative…Lahore was a city I used to call home. My laughter had echoed in the great carnival of this city. My sons had reverberated in its stillness. I had found and lost here what I thought was love. I had found and lost here what I now knew to have been love. This was the city of people I had loved, and who claimed to have loved me, but had then asked me to divide myself to prove it….
Fate brings the three together in the dargah of Daata Sahib, where bound together as outcasts, they untangle the complexities of their lives. They cry, they laugh and they fall in love…
Deftly written, this debut novel is a page-turner. The indiosyncracies of the society shade the narrative effectively, with cheeky references to “Familia Horribilus”,the in-law family of course, and the secret aspirations of millions of women, with clipped wings, smiling through the highs and lows of married lives. Add to it, what goes through the mind of a hermaphrodite.
Definitely worth reading!