"Herroner, the wife, insists that I have this in; Otherwise, she'll put me in a sling..." So begins the pompous, erudite, and at times wickedly funny fictional editor of this collection of “found” stories. A self-professed “keeper of secrets,” the editor recounts the discovery of a mysterious box of manuscripts, whose contents reconstruct the lives of several characters from a small town in north India that was torn apart by religious violence. In “Vatan and the Cow,” an old man whose son has married out of his religion is forced to go on a pilgrimage to a holy place in the foothills of the Himalayas, only to return home empty handed and broken in spirit. In “Flight to Egypt,” an unnamed man flees for Bombay after assassinating a politician during a religious riot in western India. “The Guest” is the haunting story of a woman whose musical madness reveals a peculiarly Scottish slant. And “Happiness and Other Disorders” is a comic account of the editor’s back problems written in a unique run-on style. Beautifully crafted and remarkably layered, Happiness and Other Disorders offers astonishing portraits of characters and societies torn apart by violence and oppression. Ahmad Saidullah displays a brilliant command over a complex range of narrative styles in this highly original debut collection. Praise for Happiness and Other Disorders: “The short stories in Happiness and Other Disorders surprise and enchant long after the book has been set aside for future savouring and pleasure. Not only is Ahmad Saidullah’s imagination unique, but his singular voice stands out from the myriad forms of expression in modern writing and deserves to be heard. Brimming with unexpected humour and poignancy, and rich in sub-text, Saidullah’s stories never disappear. They haunt you!” –Deepa Mehta, Director of the Academy Award-Nominated Filrm Water “Reading Ahmad Saidullah’s stories is like slipping on a pair of glasses that distort the world in fabulous ways. The dreamlike rubs shoulders with the real, the mythic with the contemporary, the riotous with the mysterious, assassins with Indian women who madly whistle Scottish tunes. Obsession and desperate attempts at escape propel these interconnected lives. This is a startling and memorable debut.” --Catherine Bush, Author of Claire's Head and The Rules of Engagement “These remarkable stories are propelled by a quiet but purposeful insight. They twist and turn in delightful ways. Where you would expect anger, there is compassion; where you might anticipate grimness, there is humour. An accomplished first collection.” –Rabindranath Maharaj, Author of A Perfect Pledge and The Lagahoo’s Apprentice “Saidullah’s stories are clearly the work of a painstaking and meticulous craftsperson. This is a skilled literary engineer.” — Toronto Star “Saidullah’s book is . . . studded with powerful images.” — The Globe and Mail “The author’s stunning prose and subtle sense of the symbolic allow the tales to transcend their conventions. . .the author of Happiness and Other Disorders possesses an entirely singular form of ominous and lovely second sight; he also has the literary chops to give it voice. Saidullah is a tale-spinner of the first order, and this collection is both a mystery and a treasure.” — Quill & Quire “Saidullah's love of language is evident within the first three pages. . . this book will appeal to anyone interested in South Asian culture.”— Desi Life Magazine
About the author
Né à Ottawa en 1958 dans une famille de diplomates indiens, Ahmad Saidullah rentre en Inde à l’âge de six ans, puis passe quelques années en Arabie saoudite et en Suisse. De retour au Canada en 1976, il est successivement consultant lexicographe, réviseur de résumés de nouvelles commerciales et réviseur pigiste à Toronto, avant de s’établir comme consultant en communications. De 1996 à 2007, il dirige un organisme de financement de services sociaux à Hamilton. Lecteur assidu, c’est en 2004 qu’il commence à écrire sérieusement.