Ainee Apa to her friends and admirers, Padma Bhushan Qurratulin Hyder is one of the most outstanding name in Urdu literary circles. Though she is best known for her novel Aag ka Darya (River of Fire) she is a fantastic short story writer. Starting at the age of 11, Ainee Apa has written 12 novels and novellas and 4 short story collections. Her first short story Bi-Chuhiya (Little Miss Mouse) was published in children’s magazine and she wrote her first novel “Mayray Bhee Sanam khanay” at the age of 19. While describing her writing style, Amitav Ghosh writes that “hers is one of the most important Indian voices of the twentieth century.”
In 1989 her novel Aakhir-e-Shab ke Hamsafar (Travelers Unto the Night) brought her the honor of Jnanpith Award while in 2005, she was conferred Padma Bhushan for her contribution to Urdu literature and education. The book I am referring to is a story collection which spans from realism to the fabular, and from history to time-travel. Street Singers of Lucknow and Other Stories is a collection of stories which revolves around mercurial, identity-changing adventures. Blurb of the book says “This versatile writer takes imaginative native flight in unusual stories spanning decades, or even centuries. Her arsenal of techniques – pastiche, satire, collage – takes us to the place most important to her, the human heart in all its varied seasons”. I am looking forward to read this eminent story writer from Lucknow
Buy your copy of Street Singers of Lucknow and Other Stories from following links
When you spend your childhood pretty much in solitary in the company of books in rural Waterford and your youthful years traveling in Eastern Europe doing many jobs like writer, newspaper editor, freelance journalist and volunteer for clinical trials, you certainly develop a knack of storytelling with the capital of experience you have gathered while traveling. Philip Ó Ceallaigh 1968 born Irish storyteller has lived this life and developed fabulous style of story writing. Philip has a command over 6 languages and he has translated Romanian playwright, essayist and novelist Mihail Sabastian’s autobiographical novel ‘For two thousand years’.
According to Eve Patten; Philip has developed an ambitious story writing style with long narratives and taking time to evolve the mood giving reader a time and space to see and think in between the drifts and stretches of prose. (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/when-time-slows-down-1.705527) He has avoided using the set Irish storytelling style and sets his stories in various places around the world where his protagonists of the stories are either solitary male or a female leading happening life. He has acknowledged being influenced in his writing style by Charles Bukowski, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, and Ivan Turgenev.
I would like to put his debut short story collection containing 19 stories ‘Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse’ on my TBR list through this blog. “The stories of Philip Ó Ceallaigh create a world that is utterly original and yet immediately recognizable – a world of ordinary people grappling with work and idleness, ambition and frustration, wildness and sobriety, love and lust and decay. Scabrously honest, screamingly funny and beautifully crafted, Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse is a brilliant debut from a writer who cannot be ignored by anyone who cares about the art of fiction.” When I read this so compiling blurb of this story book, I couldn’t choose any other author or a book for my Letter P of this 2018 April A to Z challenge. Every day we see the same emotions of idleness, ambition, frustration, love and lust all around us. This connection is an influencing factor for me to read anything. I am looking forward to reading this book as soon as I can.
Many times, you are so engrossed in the story that you are almost living with the characters from the story. However, as you reach the climax storyteller pulls out the smartest trick of revealing something shocking which will twist the entire story. Today’s storyteller is a master of such surprises, O. Henry. This American storyteller was born on September 11, 1862, in Greensboro, North Carolina with the name of William Sidney Porter. While writing the stories and sending it to editors, he used a number of pen names including S.H. Peters, Oliver Henry / O. Henry, James L. Bliss, T.B. Dowd, and Howard Clark. It was O. Henry which rang the bell with almost everyone and it stuck with him like forever.
There are two conflicting points of views about reading habits of writers. Some say it’s very helpful to read other authors while others put their foot on the opposite line. But just like I mentioned Neil Gaiman’s reading habits of his childhood, O. Henry also grew up reading all the time. He read almost everything which he could get his hands on from classics to dime novels but Lane’s translation of One Thousand and One Nights and Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy were his favorites. O. Henry wrote the stories which are playful and have a witty narration. His stories often end with surprising plot twists. This writing style gave him the reputation of American answer to Guy de Maupassant.
The book I am taking in my TBR is titled with one of his famous story, The Voice of The City. This collection was first published in 1908 and contains 25 stories. There are hundreds of imprints and editions of this book out there on Amazon and other platforms but a good thing, this classic is available for free on Kindle as a public domain book converted in digital format from the physical edition by a community of volunteers. So, guys, what are we waiting for to read this amazing master of surprise? Click the following link and get your Kindle copy.
Have you ever got attracted to fantasy, horror and ironic humor at the same time? Then, my friends, you should definitely check out Neil Gaiman, the master of contemporary fiction. Neil Gaiman was born on 10th November 1960 in a Polish – Jewish family living in Portchester, Hampshire. Neil grew up with the staple reading of great fantasy writers like J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll and Dennis Wheatly which must have sowed the seeds of fiction writing in the mind of this amazing storyteller. R. A. Lafferty guided Neil with the encouraging and advising letter when he sent him the Lafferty pastiche.
This amazing storyteller found one new medium to tell the stories which were developing in his mind through comics. This new-found medium gave him his most famous work Sandman with DC comics along with many other titles. Neil also ventured in writing fiction novels. His debut novel Good Omen is written in collaboration with amazing Terry Pratchett and subsequently gave us some amazing fantasies like Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book and TheOcean at the End of the Lane.
But as my personal liking and the theme of this year’s A to Z challenge, I would like to present you, Fragile Things, a short story collection by Neil Gaiman. “Let me tell you a story. No, Wait, one’s not enough, I’ll begin again… let me tell you stories of the months of the year, of ghosts and heartbreaks, of dead and desire. Of after-hours drinking and unanswered phones, of good deeds and bad days, of trusting wolves and how to talk to girls.” This is what Neil says in the blurb when he introduces us to the 32 stories in this book. As the subjects of these stories and Neil’s style of writing suggest, we are in for the stories which will dazzle all our senses, trigger the hunting of our imagination while we are engrossed in the reading. Come on guys, let’s just right away jump in the fantasy world Neil has created.
When India was struggling for its independence under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and many more, a girl was born in Matualalaya of Dhaka in Bengal Presidency of British India in a literary family of Ghataks. Manish Ghatak, well-known poet and novelist of the Kallol movement and Dharitri Devi, Writer and Social worker was blessed with a baby girl on 14th January 1926. With a strong alma matter of Vishwa-Bharati University and Calcutta University and literary culture at her home, Mahasweta Devi has written over 100 novels and over 20 collections of short stories.
The book I am bringing to you is called Bitter Soil. This is the collection of most compelling stories written by Mahasweta Devi which are translated from Bangla by Ipsita Chanda. Three of the stories in this collection were previously translated either by Devi herself or by other authors. The stories included in this collection sheds light on Devi’s political and economic humanism perspectives about human life. Mahasweta Devi has worked in the welfare of tribal communities of West Bengal, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states of India. This interest in tribal welfare is always reflected in her stories. This collection not an exception to that either. Though the book is translated from Bengali, I have read it still carries the same excellence and mastery of storytelling. Thanks to Ipsita Chanda for giving access to these amazing stories told by one of India’s finest storytellers.
Mahasweta Devi has been a fiery storyteller which has done amazing work of waking and shaking up of Bengali people from slumber and become active to fight against injustice. She was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan for her social work and Sahitya Akademy Award for her novel Aranyer Adhikar. In 1996, she was awarded Dnyanapeeth Award which is the highest literary award in India. For her “compassionate crusade through art and activism to claim for tribal peoples a just and honorable place in India’s national life.” Raman Magsaysay Award was conferred upon her in 1997. On her 92nd birth anniversary, Google celebrated her work by creating amazing doodle in her honor. As a reader, only tribute we can offer to this fiery Dnyanapeeth of India is enjoy her fantastic stories and I am starting with Bitter Soil.
Lydia Davis, An American writer who is famous for her flash fictions along with her short stories, novels and essays. Lydia Davis, born in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, has translated many French literary classics, including Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. Her stories are full of wit, insight and genre-defying formal inventiveness. Many of her stories revolve around very common people which you can find around you and find particular moments in those common lives and bring a humor out of them.
Her one of the new story collection is ‘Can’t and Won’t’ published in 2013 contains the stories which comment on the quotidian, revealing the mysterious, the foreign, the alienating, and the pleasurable within the predictable patterns of daily life with very sly humor. Amy M. Homes, famous American writer known for her controversial novels and unusual stories, says nothing buy “read her now!” in praise of Lydia and Can’t and Won’t. Cover of a paperback book is very simple with the title and author name in white and a pleasant sky-blue color in the background. So, let’s go and meet the characters which Lydia has developed for these stories and try to enjoy what we all live on a day – to – day basis.