In this poignant and meditative collection of short stories, Zubair Ahmad captures the lives and experiences of the people of the Punjab, a region divided between India and Pakistan. In an intimate narrative style, Ahmad writes a world that hovers between memory and imagination, home and abroad. The narrator follows the pull of his subconscious, shifting between past and present, recalling different eras of Lahore’s neighbourhoods and the communities that define them. These stories evoke the complex realities of post-colonial Pakistani Punjab. The contradictions and betrayals of this region’s history reverberate through the stories, evident in the characters, their circumstances, and sometimes their erasure. Skillfully translated from Punjabi by Anne Murphy, this collection is an essential contribution to the wider recognition of the Punjabi language and its literature.
Zubair Ahmad is the author of two Punjabi poetry collections, three short story collections, and a collection of essays. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan. Anne Murphy is associate professor in the Department of Asian Studies, director of the Centre for India and South Asia Research, and associate dean of Strategic Initiatives in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of British Columbia. She teaches and conducts research on the vernacular literary and religious traditions of the Punjab. This is her first book-length translation.