Two new translations of Qurratulain Hyder’s works

First, Scott Esposito reviews the new translation of Fireflies in the Mist (just recently released by New Directions):

If Hyder is still obscure to the English-language audience it is probably due to a combination of subject matter and style. Hyder defied conventional ideas of what post-colonial fiction looked like.  Moreover, her books are uncompromisingly steeped in the politics of the subcontinent. Their proliferation of names, dates and places can be difficult for an uninitiated reader to assimilate, particularly in Hyder’s clipped modernist prose.

Of course, great literature transcends national boundaries, and bedevilling place-names and historical events need not impede the enjoyment of great books. This is a fact that is evident in Hyder’s acknowledged masterpiece, 1959’s River of Fire, which has been acclaimed as the greatest Urdu novel of the 20th century. A quasi-epic that covers 2,000 years of history and mythology in an attempt to tell the story of India and its major religions, it has been called Urdu’s own One Hundred Years of Solitude. When New Directions published the first English edition of River of Fire in 1999, it received praise from such stately periodicals as the London Review of Books and The New York Review of Books.

Also out, though I can’t find the publisher’s page about it, is The Exiles.

Just ordered both — and very excited, despite Esposito’s negative review.

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