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Between Clay And Dust

Hardcover
Language: English
Length: 216 Pages
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Rs. 450
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Seller: WS Retail
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Between Clay And Dust By Musharraf Ali Farooqi
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Between Clay And Dust (Hardcover) Price: Rs.450

In the news on '04/06/12' in 'INDIA TODAY MAGAZINE' 

Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s new novel, set in an unnamed Pakistani city shortly after Partition, unravels the lives of Ustad Ramzi, one of the greatest wrestlers of the land, who is now old and warmed only by the memories of his past, and the equally renowned Gohar Jan, a courtesan whose kotha once welcomed lords of the land but is now in danger of being shut down.

Through the course of this book we witness Ustad Ramzi’s almost fanatical devotion to his craft and his akhara, and the attempts of his younger brother Tamami also a wrestler to rise from the towering shadow of Ustad Ramzi. We witness, also, the unusual, unspoken bond that grows between the celibate wrestler and the elegant courtesan, both past their prime.

Spare, haunting and exquisitely written, Between Clay and Dust is a remarkably original offering from a novelist working at the height of his powers.

About the Author
Musharraf Ali Farooqi was born in 1968 in Hyderabad, Pakistan, and currently lives in Karachi. His previous novel, The Story of a Widow, was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2010. He is also the highly acclaimed translator of Urdu classics Hoshruba and The Adventures of Amir Hamza, contemporary Urdu poet Afzal Ahmed Syed’s selected poetry and Urdu writer Syed Muhammad Ashraf’s novel The Beast. His children’s fiction includes The Amazing Moustaches of Moochhander the Iron Man and Other Stories and the picture book The Cobbler’s Holiday or Why Ants Don’t Wear Shoes.

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Specifications of Between Clay And Dust (Hardcover)

Contributors
Author Musharraf Ali Farooqi
Book Details
Publisher Aleph Book Company
Publication Year 2012
ISBN-13 9788192328010
ISBN-10 8192328015
Language English
Binding Hardcover
Number of Pages 216 Pages
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Book Reviews of Between Clay And Dust

4.2
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Based on 9 ratings
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews
★★★★★
★★★★★
31 May 13
Old School Romance at its Best

Musharraf Ali Farooqi is a Pakistani author of considerable repute. His writings are sensitive and portray human emotions in a beautiful muted way. Nothing garish and never too loud. They are written with so much politeness that you almost feel you are watching the story unfold in front of you.

Between Clay and Dust is set in an unnamed city in Pakistan and the plot revolves around a wrestler trying hard to save the dying art of wrestling and a middle aged courtesan whose kotha once welcomed lords of the land but is now in danger of being shut down. The period is just after independence i.e. circa 1947.

The main characters are:

Ustad Ramzi is the no nonsense, hugely respected champion undefeated wrestler who is fast slipping into middle age. His life’s mission is to find a worthy successor who will protect the title of champion wrestler for his clan’s “akhara”.

Tamami is the hard working younger brother of Ustad Ramzi, a wrestler in his own right but never up to the high standards expected by his elder brother. He tries hard almost too hard to meet the expectations of that one person he adores the most, his brother, but slips into oblivion.

Gohar Jan is the beautiful and large hearted courtesan who is fast slipping into the wrong side of age. She is the owner of the one of last remaining Kotha’s which is the haunt of the lords of the land. A singer par excellence, she is lonely at heart and knows that her Kotha might shut down anytime.

The relationship shared between champion wrestler Ramzi and the beautiful Gohar is heartwarming to say the least. Old school romance at its best. The reader bears witness to this unusual, unspoken bond that grows between the celibate wrestler and the elegant courtesan, both past their prime.

The setting for the plot is perfect and the characters so well etched that you feel for each of them. The words are eloquent, the style is fluid and the story really heartfelt.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
17 February 13
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Engaging and elevating

It's been quite a while since I read something so engaging and elevating at the same time. The style of the narrative is restrained, elegant and meditative, just like the characters and the backdrop of the story. The story of a wrestler and a courtesan during the sunset years of their lives, set against the backdrop of post-Partition Pakistan, is told in lucid but haunting prose.

Ustad Ramzi (the wrestler), Tamami (his brother) and Gohar Jan (the courtesan) create an intense tapestry of love, hatred, pride, redemption and a deep sense of longing and of loss. Nature also participates in the narrative both in its elegance (the rose bushes in the cemetery of the pahalwans, the fragrance of the jasmine in Gohar Jan's music room) and ferocity (the great flood). It is as if all of Ustad's pride and long-held perceptions on life and love are swept away by the flood. At the end, he has nothing to call his own: health, pride, wrestling title, brother and soul mate. But the water of the flood prepares the ground for his redemption.

Readers who love to read about old-world charms of kothas and akharas will surely love it. The restrained narrative style suits the plot wonderfully. The author has created a simple and sensitive story, without making it overtly sentimental.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
31 October 13
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Never judge a book by its cover!

The book is a hard cover and gives a good feel on its arrival! However on opening it I was disappointed to realize it had little content, loosely spaced paragraphs and small chapters with little happening in them ..... .

The old world charm the author has tried to bring out , seems to give a peek here and there, but then again little content left me dis satisfied.

For those who like reading literature with good content & a well laid plot and not small chapters with little to offer, the book could be a disappointment!

A thick book with thin content!

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    Book: Between Clay And Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi
    ISBN Number: 8192328015, 9788192328010, 978-8192328010

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