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The Quilt and Other Stories 4th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-8185107103
ISBN-10: 8185107106
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Originally written in Urdu, these 15 short stories are of seminal importance in illustrating the development, acceptance, and historical progress of Indian women writers. They also delineate the reluctant approval of several topics in fiction, particularly lesbianism and homosexuality, which had been only tacitly recognized earlier in Indian life and literature. The title story, "The Quilt," is a pioneering achievement; when it was first published, Chughtai had to defend herself before the Imperial Crown Court of India. Other stories, such as "Sacred Duty," "Scent of the Body," and "The Morsel," also demonstrate the author's accomplishments, for her fiction is outspoken, humorous, sometimes cynical but always energetic and convincing. A highly significant account of women's longtime struggle to find their place in Indian society, with Chughtai leading the endeavor in both her writing and her life; recommended for public libraries.
Glenn O. Carey, Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Writing in Urdu, Chughtai (19151991) paved the way for modern Indian and Pakistani women writers to harshly probe their social milieu's double standards for men and women, rich and poor. Each of these 15 stories concerns marriage in one way or another, and most begin or end with a wedding. But don't expect happy romances; these are arranged, often brutal unions. The woman in ``The Quilt'' is so lonely in her husband's house that she takes a female servant as her lover; the beautiful young bride in ``The Veil,'' forbidden by Hindu tradition to remove her own veil, is thus forced to disobey her husband. While wedding guests heap praise on each bride's beauty, it is assumed that pregnancy will soon make them fat and ungainly. In ``The Eternal Vine,'' intense suspicion is aroused when the wife keeps her looks and indeed even looks younger as her husband ages. Even in this rigid society, a few young women manage to elope, usually with men of a different religion. Indeed, Chughtai's stories offer insightful glances into the conflicts faced when Muslims, Hindus, and Christians live side by side. As the book progresses, its focus shifts from the upper echelons to the servant class. Here, wives cannot be sent off; there's no money to pay for another bride, and it ``doesn't make a wit of difference, whether or not a servant maid enters wedlock.'' A maze of first, second, and third marriages--with unions between cousins, aunts, and uncles permitted--confuses reader and narrator alike: ``By some odd coincidence I was my mother's distant cousin as well, and by that token my father was also my brother-in-law,'' the youthful narrator of ``Aunt Bichu'' explains, pesenting one of the book's simpler equations. While the basic plots of these stories are engrossing, the characters aren't sufficiently individualized, possibly due to imperfections in the translation. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: South Asia Books; 4 edition (July 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8185107106
  • ISBN-13: 978-8185107103
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,807,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Were it not for the inevitable dampening effect of translation from Urdu to English, this book deserves at least 5 stars. Ismat Chugtai was a brilliant writer, expressing her views with candor, vivid imagery, and a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor. She dares to address and expose seriously taboo topics at a time when the role of women in society was so suppressed and inhibited it makes the present day seem utopian. Like a true iconoclast, she probes questionable societal norms that most followed blindly, and still do. The only disappointment in this book is that it reads like someone's paraphrasing of Chugtai's stories; the translation, although mostly accurate, erodes the true flavor of her writing and really misses the mark sometimes.
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By A Customer on February 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book takes a look at the society of her times and provides a witty, inciteful look at it
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