Ship of Sorrows

A Novel

Qurratulain Hyder

Translated by Saleem Kidwai


Women Unlimited, New Delhi, 2019

Language: English

xxxii+284 pages

5.5 x 8.5 inches

Price INR 550.00
Book Club Price INR 413.00
INR 550.00
In stock

At the heart of the Ship of Sorrows is a group of young friends, men and women, Hindu and Muslim, living in Lukhnow at the cusp of Indian Independence. Like the rest of the country, their lives are in turmoil. As the certainties of the old order begin fraying and the prospect of division becomes inevitable, they are confronted with having to make the kind of decisions that their hitherto carefree, privileged lives had not required.

Qurratulain Hyder places the six friends in situations that reflect this changing context and reveal their complex relationship with each other and with their altered reality. As the partition of the country looms, and their separation from each other and from their known worlds becomes imminent, their cargo of sorrows gets heavier.

Yet, the ship of sorrows is not a doomed ship—through a tangle of sounds, images and emotions, Hyder navigates it to a harbour that promises hope and renewal.

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.

Saleem Kidwai

Saleem Kidwai is a medieval historian, scholar and translator. He has co-edited Same-sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History, a pioneering work documenting and exploring the indigenous routes of same-sex desire in South Asia. He has translated Qurratulain Hyder's Chandni Begum; the singer, Malka Pukhraj's autobiography, Song Sung True; and Mirror of Wonders and Other Tales, a collection of short stories by Syed Rafiq Hussain.