Street Singers of Lucknow and Other Stories


Author: Qurratulain Hyder

9788188965533 | PB | pp. 220 | 2021 | Women Unlimited

This fascinating collection of short stories highlights the innovative genius of this iconoclastic writer as she moves from realism to the fabular, and from history to time-travel.

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In the title story, woven with social satire and melodrama, an itinerant entertainer becomes a well-known singer, eventually coming back to her Lucknow roots in a subdued, melancholy ending. A cast of characters entertain themselves with gossip and adultery in the lush tranquility of the tea gardens of East Bengal. At the center is a mercurial, identity-changing adventuress, one who often appears in Hyder’s fiction. Another is the memorable Eurasian, Catherine Bolton, who escapes her roots to achieve social success.

This versatile writer takes imaginative native flight in unusual stories spanning decades, or even centuries. Her arsenal of techniques takes us to the place most important to her, the human heart in all its varied seasons.

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Qurratulain Hyder




Women Unlimited





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About the Author

Qurratulain Hyder was an influential Indian Urdu novelist and short story writer, an academic, and a journalist. One of the most outstanding literary names in Urdu literature, she is best known for her magnum opus, Aag Ka Darya (River of Fire), a novel first published in Urdu in 1959 from Lahore, Pakistan, that stretches from the 4th century BC to post partition of India. Popularly known as “Ainee Apa” among her friends and admirers, she was the daughter of writer and a pioneer of Urdu short story writing Sajjad Haidar Yildarim (1880–1943). Her mother, Nazar Zahra, who wrote at first as Bint-i-Nazrul Baqar and later as Nazar Sajjad Hyder (1894–1967), was also a novelist and protegee of Muhammadi Begam and her husband Syed Mumtaz Ali, who published her first novel.

She received the 1967 Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu for Patjhar Ki Awaz (Short stories), 1989 Jnanpith Award for Akhir-e-Shab Ke Humsafar, and the highest award of the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1994. She also received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India in 2005


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