I am absolutely engrossed in Hoshruba, The Land of the Tilism by Muhammad Husain Jah, and translated from the Urdu by author Musharaf Ali Farooqi. The tale is rich in sorcerers and tricksters -- both male and female -- giants and demons, outrageous acts of magic, magical devices, villainous rulers, plucky princesses, hapless princes, dazzling splendor and unspeakable punishments. In short, everything one could wish for in an Arabian Nights style epic. (For Cat Valente readers of The Orphan's Tales, this is a short trip to the wellspring of ornate, embellished, exotic tale-telling).
As soon as I finish reading the novel I will write a much longer review of the work. But in the meantime -- because this novel is only the first of twenty-four volumes to come of this 8,000 page fantasy epic -- I wanted to write about the amazing tale behind the tale. Farooqi has a brilliant (and very amusing) introduction that lays out the remarkable origin of the Hoshruba, and at times, I felt I was in a Borghesian moment when I was left to wonder whether the tale of translation was part of the whole tale itself -- especially when in the middle of this peculiar history, Farooqi writes: "Only an infidel would doubt that it did not happen exactly in this manner." Read More>>>