January 26, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Book Excerpt: The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human- Tales from Many Muslim Worlds – Edited by Marguerite Richards

2 min read

An exclusive excerpt from The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human- Tales from many Muslim worlds, edited by Marguerite Richards. (Published by Penguin SEA in November 2020)

Excerpt from the Foreword by Bina Shah

What we see in this collection of stories are people, in an echo of the Hidden Treasure concept, considering their own lives and experiences as hidden treasures that they love and long to make known. The writing in this anthology, then, is deeply spiritual even without an overt claim to religion, because it fulfils one of the strongest precepts of humanity: knowing and recognition. Each story is a glimpse into a constructed or reconstructed world that is completely authentic and true; it offers the opportunity for a kind of witnessing into the life of an individual and the circumstances of that human’s ecosystem. And in turn, to set off the recognition of universal human experience.

Just like humans, no story is quite like any other. These tales purport to reveal something about the Muslim world or worlds; take away the word ‘Muslim’ though, and couldn’t these stories come from anywhere? Couldn’t these people be any people, in any land or time? Or is it that these people, these stories, can only be produced by these particular times, in these particular circumstances? Picking up this collection is like lifting a gem to the light and examining it this way and that so the light reflects its different facets, to shine on a universal truth: that no matter what the condition or circumstances, every person is a human treasure longing to be known.

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