by Intizar Husain
Intizar Husain is considered one of Pakistan's most important writers. Translated from Urdu, Basti is a novel for those who appreciate complex stories written poetically. This epic tale centers around the partitioning of India and Pakistan, the upheaval that occurred between Muslim and Hindu. History, memory, myth all combine to make this an extraordinary read.
"It is a compelling read – a fine work of fiction that foreshadows in so many ways the Pakistan that exists today." – Paul Overby, Postgazette.com
"When the world was still all new, when the sky was fresh and the earth not yet soiled, when trees breathed through the centuries and ages spoke in the voices of birds, how astonished he was, looking all around, that everything was so new, and yet looked so old. Bluejays, woodpeckers, peacocks, doves, squirrels, parakeets – it seemed that they were as young as he, yet they carried the secrets of the ages. The peacocks' calls seemed to come not from the forest of Rupnagar, but from Brindaban." – Basti, New York Review Books Classics, 2012 edition.
The Faithful Scribe: A story of Islam, Pakistan, Family, and War
by Shahan Mufti
Pakistan has been so much in the news since 9/11, although most of the political news is confusing and confined to recent history. Most travelers, even the most intrepid, would not choose to go to Pakistan at the moment; however knowing about the country enriches our understanding of the issues of the Islamic world. Mufti’s family history (which he follows back to the time of the prophet Muhammad) presents a fascinating look at Pakistan now and in the past. Because it is also a personal history he writes with feeling and intimacy of his family and country.
“A penetrating, carefully crafted, and sometimes moving account that presents Pakistan through the lens of Mufti’s family’s history, offering a vivid new perspective on a troubled country that is at once intimate and sweeping.” – Declan Walsh, The New York Times
“If you want to understand Pakistan and the Pakistani-American relationship, read this book.” –Ryan Crocker, American Ambassador to Pakistan, 2004-2007.
“War came to Lahore on the evening of December 3, 1971. The sun had melted into bloody orange on the western horizon when the azaan crackled out from the bullhorns that clung to the minarets nettling the dusky landscape, calling the faithful to prayer. Saadia, my mother, who was twenty-two years old at the time, laid out her prayer mat on the cold hard floor of her room and began the rhythmical motion of namaz, facing in the direction of the holy mosque in Mecca. When she finished, she neatly folded over one corner of the mat and, as she had been doing for many weeks, turned on the black-and-white TV set in time for the evening news telecast. That is when Saadia first learned, along with millions of others, that the Indian army had attached her country, Pakistan.” – The Faithful Scribe, Other Press, 2013 edition.