Never before available in English, River of Fire, originally published as Aag ka Darya in 1959, is without question the most important novel of 20th-century Urdu literature. An amazing, sui generis book, River of Fire spans two and a half millennia. Set during four Indian epochs (the classical, the medieval, the colonial, and the modern post-national), the novel is a meditation on history and human nature, tracing four souls through time. Each section is linked by characters who bear, in every period, the same names: Gautam, Champa, Kamal, and Cyril. Gautam (appearing first as a student of mysticism at the Forest University of Shravasti in the 4th century B.C.E.) and Champa (throughout embodying the enigmatic experience of Indian women) begin and end the novel; Muslim Kamal appears mid-way through, as the Muslims did, and loses himself in the Indian landscape; and Cyril, the Englishman, appears later still. In different eras, different relations form among the four -- romance and war, possession and dispossession. Yet together the characters reflect the oneness of human nature: amidst the nationalist and religious upheavals of Indian history, Hyder argues for a culture that is inclusive. Interweaving parables, legends, dreams, diaries, and letters, Hyder's prose is lyrical and witty. There is really no book like River of Fire. Qurratulain Hyder was awarded the Bharatiya Gnanpith, India's highest literary award, in 1989, and here is her masterpiece, her broadest canvas and her finest art.
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Qurratulain Hyder (1926-2007) is widely regarded as the grande dame of Urdu literature. To her fans and admirers she is popularly known as “Ainee Apa.” The Prime Minister of India said at her funeral, “With her unfortunate passing, the country has lost a towering literary figure.”Language Notes:
Text: English (translation)
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Book Description Oxford University Press, 1999. Unknown Binding. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0195790669