Fireflies in the Mist


Women Unlimited, New Delhi, 2008

378 pages

Price INR 350.00
Book Club Price INR 263.00
INR 350.00
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The plaintive song of the boatman on the Padma, a green haze of rice fields turning to gold in the light of the setting sun, the romance of Bengal caught and held in the silvery net of a fisherman's haul
Ambitious, subtle and intricately structured, Firfeflies in the Mist spans nearly four decades of East Bengal's history, from the dawn of nationalism to the restless aftermath of the bloody struggle for an independent Bangladesh.
At the centre of this many-centred novel is Deepali Sarkar, a young Hindu attracted to the extreme left wing of the nationalist movement, and Rehan Ahmed, a Muslim radical of Marxist inclinations who introduced her to the life of the rural deprived. Their common political engagement drawn them into a quietly doomed love affair. Through their relationship, Hyder explores the growth of tension between Bengal's Hindus and Muslims who had once shared a culture and a history.
"History," says Hyder, "is another name for humanity's inability to learn its lesson." Lit by the flare of Hyder's prose, history is captured in the glow of the firefly's wing, unfolding in the lives of her characters as they try to come to terms with their own and Bengal's shifting fortunes.

Qurratulain Hyder

Qurratulain Hyder is a leading writer in 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 Jnanpith, India's highest literary award, in 1989. The recipient of a number of other literary awards, she is a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi, travelled widely and worked as a journalist and broadcaster. Her novel River of Fire (Women Unlimited, 2003), translated by the author from the original Urdu Aag ka Dariya, has achieved epic status in fiction about the subcontinent. My Temples, Too, also translated by Hyder from the original Mere Bhi Sanamkhane, has been published by Women Unlimited in 2004; and Fireflies in the Mist, was translated from the original Akhir-e-Shab ke Humsafar, by Aamer Hussain was published by Women Unlimited in 2008. Her latest title, published by Women Unlimited in 2009, is a collection of short stories, Street Singers of Lucknow and Other Stories, translated by Hyder herself.