Trenchant and inspiring

So says the Hindu about Fireflies in the Mist, Qurratulain Hyder's novel on Bengal. With an Introduction by Aamer Hussein, this recent title from Women Unlimited, is a novel that moves through "nearly four decades of East Bengal's history, from the dawn of nationalism to the restless aftermath of the bloody struggle for an independent Bangladesh.

At the heart of this many-centred novel is Deepali Sarkar, a young Hindu attracted to the extreme left wing of the nationalist movement, and Rehan Ahmed, a Muslim radical of Marxist inclinations who introduces her to the life of the rural deprived. Their common political engagement draws them into a quietly doomed love affair. Through their relationship, Hyder explores the growth of tension between Bengal's Hindus and Muslims who had once shared a culture and a history.

"History," says Hyder, "is another name for humanity's inability to learn its lesson." Lit by the flare of Hyder's prose, history is captured in the glow of the firefly's wing, unfolding in the lives of her characters as they try to come to terms with their own and Bengal's shifting fortunes.

Hyder who passed away last year, wrote in Urdu, and extensively. Her work consists of four collections of short stories, five novels and several novellas. She was awarded the Padma Shri, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the prestigious Jnanpith, in 1989, for this novel. The marvelously pensive photograph on the right is by Gauri Gill...

In our Translation section, 424 pages. Rs. 350 ISBN: 81-88965-52-9

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I would like to get a copy. Could you please organize the usual way or should I correspond separately?