'River of Fire' is to Urdu fiction what 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' is to Hispanic literature - Aamer Hussein, The Times Literary Supplement
Qurratulain Hyder (1927-2007), was one of the foremost writers of Urdu literature—a novelist and short story writer, journalist and educationist. Her works were among the first to give radical direction for a burgeoning feminist voice in the subcontinent. Mere Bhi Sanam Khane was one of her early works, in which she explored the causes of Hindu Muslim violence leading upto Partition through the lives of young citizens. She is best remembered for her work Aag ka darya (The River of Fire) that emerged out of the deep anguish felt in the Partition of India. As a writer she places particular emphasis on weaving historical reality into the fictive lives of her characters. Other notable works include Safina- e-Gham-e Dil, Pathjhar ki awaz, Raushni ki Raftar among others. Her writing has spanned both Partitions of the subcontinent, that of 1947 and that of 1971. Aamer Hussein is a short story writer, novelist and essayist, holding writing fellowships and having judged prestigious literature awards including The Commonwealth Prize, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize among others. He writes in both English and Urdu. In this presentation he discusses aspects of exile following Partition as depicted in Qurratulain Hyder's novels and short fiction, particularly the collection The Sound of Falling Leaves.