Author: Murtaza Razvi
Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 1, 2013)
Price: Rs 299
About the Author: Murtaza Razvi (1964 – 19 April 2012) was a senior Pakistani journalist with Dawn, Karachi. Murtaza Razvi held master’s degrees in Ancient Indian and Islamic History (University of the Punjab, Lahore) and Political Science & International Relations (Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA). Murtaza Razvi served as the Resident Editor of Dawn, Lahore (2005–2007) and columnist and political analyst of the Indian Express.
Description: Highly imaginative stories, full of humour, love, laughter, tragedy and loss. No, I am no Scheherazade of the Arabian Nights, I tell Rani, when she agrees to listen to my stories. And I am no depraved king, she says …Pittho’s World is the magical domain of storytelling, of Sheikhu and his lover Rani, of parents, Big Brother, uncles, aunts and grandparents. And of course, Aunt Pittho, she of the big hips, wielding magic and a stick. The stories originate in Iran, move through Afghanistan to Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, before returning to rest in Pakistan. Spanning two centuries and several generations, these are tales of love and happiness, tragedy and malice, black magic and manslaughter, linked together by two peoples love for storytelling, and for each other. Published posthumously, this delightful work of fiction by one of Pakistan s best-known journalists transports us to places and times long lost to humanity. They are stories of life, but also of death which waits at the end, leaving in its wake loneliness that lingers.
Review: The novel has stories with plentiful characters, and that of the narrator himself. The novel spans a period of two centuries, and is spread out to 19th century Iran, the pre-partition India, which then becomes Pakistan (Lahore, Karachi), East Pakistan/Bangladesh (Dhaka). As the story has many characters and locales, it did turn into a junk of characters and events for some time for me.
The narrative in Pittho’s World is inspired from the Arabian Nights; the narrator, Sheikhu, and Rani are significant of Scheherazade and Shahryar in the Arabian Nights, but with a role U-turn. In terms of description, the reader receives the handy into Sheikhu, the most. The other characters, relatives of Sheikhu, and Rani, are described through the narrator’s side. When he talks of his greatest grandparents, great-grandparents, and grandparents, the reader can sense what he actually feels about each of these characters.
Each story is sandwiched between the past, and the present; the former being the actual story, which happened in the past, and the latter being the storytelling session taking place among Sheikhu and Rani. The story is joined by a common point: the migration of Sheikhu’s ancestors to India from Persia in the 19th century. This point then connects all the succeeding stories with each other and to Sheikhu too.
I got this book as a free review copy through a joint initiative of Harper Collins and Indiblogger.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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