19 January 2017

Nouveau Islamic Fiction


Recently I have observed a spurt of displaying Islamic life in cartoons and books. This is an opportunity to know about the world so different, culture so rich, traditions so old, people so polite, and lives so warm. These books they show different things. At one side there is memories of authors thru their time of Islamic revolutions. The war with the west, the war within and the lives of common people. There is no one happy with whatever is going around, there are things irrational, there are lives limited. Each book tells a different story - of a world lost in the time, stuck somewhere not ready to move, and lives just living! What is it that can't settle down. Why is a land so important, why is god so important, anywhere in the world. Does the God need humans to protect him. God is there and not there. But is it sensible to loose your life for god, centre your life around god, kill other people in name of God. The strife, the war, creates fear and insecurity in the minds of people and they reach out to some saviour and it's generally God. When the things go so bad, that's when god is born. The whole mythological literate we can discuss later. 
But see this list of the Islamic fiction

1) Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi - As much I say about this books, it's less. This one is turning into my lifetime favorite. A book I will keep returning to and hold its copy dear to my heart. 
2) Kiterunner, Khaled Hussaini - A beautiful book written on love and family and guilt and a past. Another book by the same author is 'A Thousand splendid suns'. Another nostalgia trip is Rooftops of Tehranby Mahbod Seraji - of a small community living, of childhood love and the journey to it 
3) Girls of Riyadh, Rajaa Alsanea - To summarise its the Arabic 'Sex in the city'. And it's no sex in the city. Men continue to be jerks and women keep searching for the world. Only and the biggest difference you have society rules to follow too! 

Ancient Storytelling 
1) Arabian Nights, scheherazade - The most ancient book ever, of a woman who tells never ending tales to the king every night. She lives if stories do! Definitely a story lover'
2) The forty rules of love, Elif Shafak - a love story between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz 
3) My name is Red, by Orhan Pamuk - The story of love, envy and deceit in the art of miniaturists showing the intricate threads of the teacher student relationship. 

And then there is graphic depiction to show the misery of life in simple black and white caricatures. Life is colourless and empty lines. It's bland and dull, the coloured memories of good times. The blue skies are gone, Where are the greens of hills and the browns of deserts. Why this land is dry and arid. 

Graphic Fiction 
1) Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi - A girl child growing in the background of Iranian revolution. A generation that went backward rather than forward. Embroideries, Chicken with Plums are also her beautiful storytelling creations! 
2) The Arab of the Future, Riad Sattouf - Two parts of lovely cartoon lives across Syria and France by some one who lived his childhood between the two. The graphic depiction is of course Parisian influence 
3) Disco Kabul, Nicolas Wild - An unemployed  American gets a photography and comic writing project in Afghanistan and lives to tell his tale of surviving in the tough yet funny situations 

And all these stories show women living empty lives, serving their men, products of a patriarchal society, where women are owned as husbandry, just more high maintainence, to be wives, give birth and manage homes. They are not equal to men no matter what. And it's also not about equality, it's about acknowledging women are superior in different things. 

This is little English fiction of Islamic world that I know of. These authors are either currently on asylum in USA or France away from their homeland suppressed by tyrannical fanatic governments and war lords. Orhan particularly writes ancient tale of a miniaturist era. These worlds have their own beauty. Their own tales that need to be told. Hope you enjoy these lovely books. Each needs to be read in this lifetime and another. 🤓


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