ESSENCE OF CAMPHOR by Naiyer Masud

ESSENCE OF CAMPHOR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The complex burdens imposed by memory and the intricacies of familial love and obligation are analyzed with breathtaking subtlety in this brilliant debut collection of seven tales, written in the Urdu language by an Indian-born writer, critic, and teacher. Restrained emotion pulses powerfully through the lovely title story, in which a `parfumier` seeks the precise mixture of ingredients that will evoke the presence of a girl who died tragically young; the unusual supernatural stories `Sheesha Ghat` and `Ba'i's Mourners`; and `Interregnum,` the story of a grieving son's gradual acceptance of his father's death—`inherited,` along with the latter's possessions. Even more interesting are `The Myna from Peacock Gardens,` an `Arabian Nights`–like fairytale about a loving father who risks the wrath of a powerful sultan in order to fulfill his young daughter's wishes; and `Obscure Domains of fear and desire,` a curiously suggestive, possibly allegorical story that portrays a callow young man's descent into speechlessness and madness, caused by his attraction to his mysteriously `alluring` aunt. Wonderfully absorbing and rewarding: the work of a fully mature, highly accomplished artist.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-56584-583-8
Publisher: New Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000




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