From the Man Asian Literary Prize-longlisted author, the story of a middle-aged man in contemporary India discovering that neither his life nor his country are as stable as he thought.
Alif is a middle-aged, mild-mannered history teacher, living in contemporary Delhi, at a time when Muslims in India are seen either as hapless victims or live threats. Though his life's passion is the history he teaches, it's the present that presses down on him: his wife is set on a bigger house and a better car while trying to ace her MBA exams; his teenage son wants to quit school to get rich; his supercilious colleagues are suspicious of a Muslim teaching India's history; and his old friend Ganesh has just reconnected with a childhood sweetheart with whom Alif was always rather enamored himself.
And then the unthinkable happens. While Alif is leading a school field trip, a Hindu student goads him about being Muslim, and in a fit of anger, Alif twists his ear. Suddenly out of a job, Alif finds his life rapidly descending into chaos as his home city, too, falls under the shadow of violence.
In this darkly funny, sharply observed, and deeply moving novel, Anjum Hasan deftly and delicately explores the life of Muslims in India and the force and consequence of remembering your people's history under an establishment that wants to forget.
About this Author
Anjum Hasan is the author of three novels and two short story collections, which have been shortlisted for the Indian Academy of Letters Prize, the Sahiya Akademi Award, the Hindu Best Fiction Award and the Crossword Fiction Award, as well as being longlisted for the Man Asia Literary Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, among many others. She lives in Bangalore, India.
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