The twenty-five stories in this book represent the finest short fiction in Urdu literature which are selected and translated by writer, editor and translator par excellence Muhammad Umar Memon.
In the introductory part 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.