Author: Feryal Ali Gauhar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143028251
This novel is a moving story of love in its various forms, and the despair it sometimes brings to those who find it. A lyrical exploration of desire and loss set in present-day Lahore.
Kucha Miran Shah has been better days. Filled with buildings built centuries ago by courtiers ago by courtiers for courtesans, it is now a place frequented by drug addicts and dropouts. Here, set amidst Charlie Video palace, Green Star Ladies Clinic and Dilawar’s two-rupees cart, with the Badhshi ,Masjid looming in the background, is the crumbling Begum Haveli.
It is home to Fatimah, a mute girl injured in an acid attack as a baby, and her three surrogate mothers, all retired courtesans. Between her duties at the haveli, Fatimah searches for love, first with Bobby, brash owner of the video parlor, and then Shabbir, the young apprentice priest at the mosque.
But hope is at a premium in Kucha Miran Shah, refuge of the defeated and the destitute. There is Mumtaz, Fatimah’s mother, a woman ruined by passion and her drug addiction; Raunaq Jehan, Shamshad Bai and Pyari, Fatimah’s guardians, bereft now of youth and beauty, which was their only wealth; Aatish-baaz Aaliya, former circus woman crippled in an accident; and Moulvi Basharat of the Badshahi mosque, a man trapped in his own world of misery, made ruthless and possessive with age. Fatimaha and Shabbir dare this gloom, only to be beaten back by cruelty, betrayal and superstition.