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The Pity of Partition: Manto's Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide | [Ayesha Jalal]

The Pity of Partition: Manto's Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) was an established Urdu short story writer and a rising screenwriter in Bombay at the time of India's partition in 1947, and he is perhaps best known for the short stories he wrote following his migration to Lahore in newly formed Pakistan. Ayesha Jalal draws on Manto's stories, sketches, and essays, as well as a trove of his private letters, to present an intimate history of partition and its devastating toll.
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Publisher's Summary

Saadat Hasan Manto (1912-1955) was an established Urdu short story writer and a rising screenwriter in Bombay at the time of India's partition in 1947, and he is perhaps best known for the short stories he wrote following his migration to Lahore in newly formed Pakistan. Today Manto is an acknowledged master of twentieth-century Urdu literature, and his fiction serves as a lens through which the tragedy of partition is brought sharply into focus. In The Pity of Partition, Manto's life and work serve as a prism to capture the human dimension of sectarian conflict in the final decades and immediate aftermath of the British raj.

Ayesha Jalal draws on Manto's stories, sketches, and essays, as well as a trove of his private letters, to present an intimate history of partition and its devastating toll. Probing the creative tension between literature and history, she charts a new way of reconnecting the histories of individuals, families, and communities in the throes of cataclysmic change. Jalal brings to life the people, locales, and events that inspired Manto's fiction, which is characterized by an eye for detail, a measure of wit and irreverence, and elements of suspense and surprise. In turn, she mines these writings for fresh insights into everyday cosmopolitanism in Bombay and Lahore, the experience and causes of partition, the postcolonial transition, and the advent of the Cold War in South Asia.

The first in-depth look in English at this influential literary figure, The Pity of Partition demonstrates the revelatory power of art in times of great historical rupture.

©2013 Princeton University Press (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    Julia Staten Island, NY, United States 06-10-14
    Julia Staten Island, NY, United States 06-10-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Wonderful character, not such an interesting book"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it was well spent because I learned about a fascinating and historically important character. I have begun to read his short stories and they are truly wonderful and inspiring.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It was expected as he clearly intended to orchestrate his own end.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The period after he is relocated in Pakistan. It is heart breaking and he is an awesome, in the truest sense of the word, character.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes, I would love to see his life portrayed in film, it would be very fitting as he was a screen writer.


    Any additional comments?

    If the book captured the irony and cleverness of the author himself, it would have been amazing. It is a very academic presentation of a very idiosyncratic person who was clearly a genius. Sadly, academic presentations seem out of sync with his energy and purposes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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