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TheWomen's Courtyard

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Khadija Mastur (Author) Khadija Mastur (1927-82) was a renowned and award-winning Urdu writer fr... Read More

Product Description

Khadija Mastur (Author)
Khadija Mastur (1927-82) was a renowned and award-winning Urdu writer from Pakistan, famous for her novels and short stories. She is best remembered for novel Aangan, published in Penguin Classics as The Women's Courtyard.

Daisy Rockwell (Translator)
Daisy Rockwell is an artist, writer and translator living in northern New England, USA. Apart from her essays on literature and art, she has written Upendranath Ashk: A Critical Biography, The Little Book of Terror and the novel Taste. Her highly acclaimed translations include, among others, Upendranath Ashk's Falling Walls and Bhisham Sahni's Tamas, published in Penguin Classics.

Aliya lives a life confined to the inner courtyard of her home with her older sister and irritable mother, while the men of the family throw themselves into the political movements of the day. She is tormented by the petty squabbles of the household and dreams of educating herself and venturing into the wider world. But Aliya must endure many trials before she achieves her goals, though at what personal cost?
Set in the 1940s, with Partition looming on the horizon, The Women's Courtyard cleverly brings into focus the claustrophobic lives of women whose entire existence was circumscribed by the four walls of their homes, and for whom the outside world remained an inaccessible dream. Daisy Rockwell's elegant and nuanced translation captures the poignance and power of Khadija Mastur's inimitable voice.

One of the iconic modern Urdu novels. Basically about the Partition-and about how people observed it in the prospect, and what actually happened to them-it is a highly symbolic narrative of fractured lives and peoples. Poignant, and in many ways somehow prophetic of the events that happened much later after Partition, it is a novel that deserves much greater notice than it has received so far. It is a good thing that Daisy Rockwell, a knowledgeable and committed translator from Urdu and Hindi, has chosen to bring this truly great novel-and not just by a woman, but great by any standards-novel before the wider world through her English translation.Beyond the astute, masterful exercise of a translator's art, her sensitive choices in diction and idiom, Daisy Rockwell's translations are rendered with a subtle brilliance that transports our master writers' original framework of sensibilities with great delicacy into a new language. We are fortunate to have, in Rockwell, a meticulous, virtuoso translator working on our literature.[The Women's Courtyard] is at its core an indictment of patriarchy - one of the most moving and powerful in all our fiction . . . The narrative is always gripping . . . Rockwell's translation is superbly judged. Her English renders the spareness of Mastur's Urdu, the efficiency of her physical descriptions, and the devastating concision with which she handles tragedy.I devoured [The Women's Courtyard] in two sittings . . . Daisy Rockwell is experienced and highly accomplished and it's no surprise that her [translation] is such a joy . . . Mastur is an expert at indicating her characters' thoughts and feelings in a brief phrase, a description of a detail, often just in a gesture.Khadija Mastur's classic novel Aangan receives a superb and nuanced new translation that is likely to garner even more admirers for the book . . . Rockwell's highly readable version makes me approach the novel with as much excitement as did reading it for the first time many years ago [and] this is her real success as translator.Daisy Rockwell's immaculate translation of Khadija Mastur's Aangan is welcome not only for bringing the work to English readers, but also as a feminist tract that questions love, marriage and the need for happy endings.The novel is as much an indictment of a patriarchal system as it is a comment on the fragmenting of nations. . . The continually shifting equation of the friction and solidarity between the women layers the novel with complexities . . . The personal rings with the political in every way.

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