The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told


Author : Muhammad Umar Memon

9789383064076 | HB | pp. 372 | 2018 | Aleph Book Company

Selected and translated by writer, editor and translator par excellence Muhammad Umar Memon, the twenty-five stories in this book represent the finest short fiction in Urdu literature.

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In his Introduction, Memon traces the evolution of the Urdu short story from its origins in the work of writers like Munshi Premchand the first professional short story writer in Urdu through the emergence of the Progressives in the late 1930s, whose writings were unabashedly political and underpinned their Marxist ideologies, to the post-Independence Modernist era, and today s generation of avant-garde, experimental writers of Urdu fiction.

Every story in the anthology illustrates one or the other facet of the form in the Urdu literary tradition. But even more than for their formal technique and inventiveness, these stories have been included because of their power and impact on the reader. Death and poverty face off in Premchand’s masterpiece The Shroud. In Khalida Asghar’s The Wagon, a mysterious redness begins to cloak the sunset in a village by the Ravi. Behind closed doors and cracks in the windows lies desire but also a sense of queer foreboding in Naiyer Masud’s Obscure Domains of Fear and Desire. The tragedy and horror of Partition are brought to life by Saadat Hasan Manto’s lunatic (in Toba Tek Singh ) and the eponymous heroine of Rajinder Singh Bedi’s Laajwanti. Despairing, violent, passionate, humorous, ironic and profound the fiction in The Greatest Urdu Stories Ever Told will imprint itself indelibly on your mind.


Muhammad Umar Memon




Aleph Book Company





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About the Author

Muhammad Umar Memon is Professor Emeritus of Urdu Literature and Islamic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a critic, short story writer, translator and editor of The Annual of Urdu Studies.

Dr. Memon was born in Aligarh, India in 1939. In 1954, his family moved to Karachi, Pakistan where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees. After his graduation, he taught at Sachal Sarmast College and Sind University. In 1964 he won a Fulbright scholarship to the United States. This move enabled him to earn a masters degree from Harvard University and eventually a doctorate in Islamic Studies from UCLA. Dr. Memon joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970 and retired from there after 38 years of service


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