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The Quilt & Other Stories

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Ismat's life has been an inspiring struggle against conservatism. She writes about the life of ordinary people with sensitivity and humor. Major collection of short stories on women.
224 pages
Published (first published December 1st 1994)
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Ismat Chughtai was a forward-looking author in an era where "good women" were obedient, not in the world and forward looking. She came from what was then a part of northern India, now Pakistan, and Urdu was her language. Her family was Muslim, and her father insisted that all ten of his children be given a fine and complete education. She was considered rather radical and was even taken to trial by the powers that were at the time for pornography, for THE QUILT, one of the short stories in this ...more
What an amazing collection of short stories this book has by the grand dame of Urdu fiction “Ismat Chughtai”, a well-educated, well read and very prolific writer of her time. The crust of her writing is set in the Indian Muslim middle-class society centered especially on women. Her stories are bold, funny, sharp and very thought provoking. Her use of the local language and dialect which was called as “Begumati Zubaan” by Qurratulain Hyder is what adds layers and flavors to her stories. You feel ...more
Randi Jo
A diverse collection of Chughtai's stories in translation*, unified by their attention to the "lot of women" and the intricate turnings of the world of the zenana. My favorites among the fifteen stories? I have to say I quite enjoyed "A Morsel/Niwala," and took some morbid delight in "Scent of the Body/Badan ki Khushboo." However, in my opinion, the most standout piece of literary work here (at least in translation) is "Sacred Duty/Muqaddas Farz," which somehow manages to be equally terrifying a ...more
3.5/5. The stories themselves are fantastic. The Quilt, A Morsel, Scent of the Body, A Pair of Hands, The Wedding Shroud, and The Veil are all superb. Ismat Chughtai is able to bring characters to life with warmth and wit while simultaneously skewering the banal tyrannies of caste, class, and gender that pervade the daily lives of her characters.

However, there are translation issues -- Syeda Hameed, responsible for translating about 1/3 of the stories in this book, is a much inferior translator
I have to admit to read Ismat Chugtai in English was bit less of fun. Humor that is derived from language than the idea is not quite translated in English. BOok is anthology on collection of stories with theme of relationships and sex. There is lesbianism, lust, desire, love. My favorite story was 'Homemaker' about Lajo, the former prostitute and simpleton Mirza.

Another one I remember is about CHoudhary the painter and his female muse who is a roadside urchin and how the story ends.

Reading abou
Powerful, even in the translation. I can only imagine its power in the original.
Aug 31, 2008 Jyoti rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jyoti by: cousin
I liked some of the short stories for their language, tone and muslim flavour. I read a couple of them together and at some point they began to overlap and feel repetitive - read some once in a while and they appeared to have the ability to transport their reader to muslim households and look into the lives of rich women slave-driving poor women or little boys mainly to meet their objective of arranging all comforts possible for the menfolk. Read realistic.
i would give it 4 stars because i'm sure much is lost in translation, and these are far more interesting to read in Urdu if one has the capability...
having said that, it is a decent translation...and a rare one of such a work....the stories will seem shockingly ahead of their time to anyone not familiar w/ south asian culture or "feminists" from muslim cultures/lands...i wish more books like these were translated into english...
I enjoyed the tales, and they were revolutionary in their own rights but i was left hungry for more meaning, more understanding and mostly i was left dissatisfied with a craving for more.
Kasturi  Dadhe
Bold, witty and extremely wry cutting sense of humour! Simply delectable even for the modern feminist reader!
Vineel Gattu
Very good read for short story lovers.
Meghna Pant
Powerful, simply told
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Ismat Chughtai (Urdu: عصمت چغتائی) (August 1915 – 24 October 1991) was an eminent Urdu writer, known for her indomitable spirit and a fierce feminist ideology. She was considered the grand dame of Urdu fiction, Along with Rashid Jahan, Wajeda Tabassum and Qurratulain Hyder, Ismat’s work stands for the birth of a revolutionary feminist politics and aesthetics in twentieth century Urdu literature. S ...more
More about Ismat Chughtai...
The Quilt: Stories The Crooked Line: Terhi Lakir Lifting the Veil: Selected Writings of Ismat Chughtai A Life In Words Quilt

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