Interview: Debut novelist weighs in with towering portrayal of 19th-century India


shamsur RahmanAsia Society interview with Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, author of The Mirror of Beauty

The novel is a dual feat: Faruqi enters the mind of a fully dimensional 19th-century woman, willful and independent yet also bound by the conventions of her time and place, while also depicting, at an extraordinary level of detail, the glorious late phase of the Indo-Muslim civilization of which Wazir is a part. Working in a stately, quietly hypnotic idiom meant to evoke the conventions of traditional Urdu storytelling, Faruqi recreates everything from the clothes and jewelry these people wore to the physical spaces they inhabited and the ways they wooed the opposite sex.

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