Qurratulain Hyder: Courtesy Jamia's Premchand Archives & Literary Centre, JMI-New Delhi

Qurratulain Hyder

Qurratulain Hyder (1928–2007) was one of the leading writers of Urdu fiction in India. A prose stylist of rare accomplishment, she wrote in both Urdu and English, and her books have been translated into all Indian languages. She was awarded the Bharatiya Gnapinth, India’s highest literary award, in 1989.

River of Fire

The most important novel of twentieth-century Urdu fiction, Qurratulain Hyder’s River of Fire encompasses the fates of four recurring characters over two and a half millennia. These characters become crisscrossed and strangely inseparable over different eras, forming and reforming their relationships in romance and war, in possession and dispossession. River of Fire interweaves parables, legends, dreams, diaries, and letters, forming a rich tapestry of history and human emotions and redefining Indian identity.…
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Fireflies in the Mist

Championed by Salman Rushdie in The New Yorker, Qurratulain Hyder is one of the “must reads” of Indian literature. Fireflies in the Mist is Hyder’s capstone to her astonishing River of Fire, which was hailed by The New York Review of Books as “magisterial with a technical resourcefulness rarely seen before in Urdu fiction.” Fireflies follows the creation of modern day Bangladesh – from Indian province, to Partition, to the emergence of statehood – as told through the impassioned voice of Deepali Sarkar and the others around her who live through the turbulence.…
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The magnum opus of possibly the most acclaimed Urdu novelist of all time…River of Fire tells a completist and syncretistic version of 2,500 years of history in modern-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—beginning with the Nanda Dynasty on the brink of defeat by the founder of the Mauryan Empire (323 to 185 BCE), and ending in post-Partition despair. But the novel, barreling through the ages, leads up to 1947 with great purpose, the deep past used to understand the suddenness and chaos of Partition.
The Nation
To Urdu fiction what One Hundred Years of Solitude is to Hispanic literature.
The London Times Literary Supplement
. . . a challenging, rewarding author who could make the political realities of her region live on the page.
The National
Qurratulain Hyder is a wonderful writer. She pairs enormous erudition with a careful eye to detail. Hers is one of the most important Indian voices of the twentieth century.
—Amitav Ghosh
Qurratulain Hyder has a place alongside her exact contemporaries, Milan Kundera and Gabriel Garcia Márquez, as one of the world's major living authors.
Times Literary Supplement
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