For Now, It Is Night: Stories (Paperback)

For Now, It Is Night: Stories By HARI KRISHNA KAUL, Kalpana Raina (Translated by), Tanveer Ajsi (Translated by), Gowhar Fazili (Translated by), Gowhar Yaquoob (Translated by) Cover Image
By HARI KRISHNA KAUL, Kalpana Raina (Translated by), Tanveer Ajsi (Translated by), Gowhar Fazili (Translated by), Gowhar Yaquoob (Translated by)
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“An enthralling — and welcome — reclamation of Kaul’s fiction. . . Kaul’s work shimmers with questions of reality and illusion, home and exile.” – The New York Times Book Review

17 lively short stories provide an irreverent examination of exile, drawn from the ever-observant pen of one of Kashmir's most celebrated writers

Hari Krishna Kaul, one of the most celebrated Kashmiri writers, published most of his work between 1972 and 2000. His short stories, shaped by the social crisis and political instability in Kashmir, explore – with a keen eye for detail, biting wit, and deep empathy – themes of isolation, individual and collective alienation, corruption, and the social mores of a community that experienced a loss of homeland, culture, and language.

In these pages, we will find friends stuck forever in the same class at school while the world changes around them; travelers forced to seek shelter in a battered, windy hostel after a landslide; parents struggling to deal with displacement as they move away from Kashmir with their children, or loneliness as their children leave in search of better prospects; the cabin fever of living through a curfew . . .

Brilliantly translated in a unique collaborative project, For Now, It Is Night brings a comprehensive selection of Kaul’s stories to English readers for the first time.

About the Author

Born in Kashmir, Hari Krishna Kaul (1934–2009), was forced to leave in 1990. Kaul started his literary career writing short stories in Urdu and Hindi but switched to writing in Kashmiri in the mid-60s. His first collection of short stories in Kashmiri, Pata Laraan Parbat, was published in 1972 and immediately established him as a major writer. Three collections of short stories and numerous television and radio plays followed. His only novel, Vyath Vyatha, was published in 2005. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award for Kashmiri fiction in 2000.

Kalpana Raina was born in Kashmir and lives in New York. She is a senior executive, board director, and adviser with over thirty years of experience in both corporate and not-for-profit sectors. This is her first work of translation.

Tanveer Ajsi is an independent art historian and cultural theorist. He has written extensively on theatre, performing arts, visual arts, and literature.

Gowhar Fazili teaches political science and sociology.

Gowhar Yaqoob is an independent research scholar based in Srinagar.

Praise For…

"Kaul, who died in exile in 2009 at the age of 75, left an intricate body of work that amounts to sly, detailed portraits of domestic life set against the backdrop of religious and political tensions . . . For Now, It Is Night is an enthralling — and welcome — reclamation of Kaul’s fiction by a team of four translators . . . Kaul’s work shimmers with questions of reality and illusion, home and exile." — Anderson Tepper, New York Times Book Review

"Kaul’s subtle collection explores the divide between Hindus and Muslims in late-20th-century Kashmir. The stories . . . tease out the tension between the two cultures through asides and observations . . . Throughout, Kaul’s lyrical prose is lucidly translated; during a quiet and stultifying summer night in “A Song of Despair,” the narrator feels “as if someone was holding the wind captive.” This mosaic of ruptured lives astonishes." — Publishers Weekly

"The subtle dynamics that bind fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and grandmothers and grandsons are teased out in stories that, more often than not, speak to the loneliness and isolation within families, heightened when distance pulls generations apart . . . This volume [has] a range and depth that truly honours Kaul’s contribution to Kashmiri literature and makes it accessible to a new generation of English language readers." — Joseph Schreiber, Rough Ghosts

“Kaul’s stories are a testament to the power of literature to illuminate the subtleties of human experience, transcending regional and cultural boundaries, and provoking contemplation to find meaning in the entire scheme of seemingly random events, experiences, and actions.” – Manisha Gangahar, The Tribune

"The sensations of reading Kaul are akin to those felt when watching the masters of slow-paced cinema, like Bresson or Bela Tarr. As in a Tarr film, the point is not to extrapolate a larger meaning from a roadside encounter or a simple transaction; the point is to immerse oneself in the details of ordinary life and the texture of a moment." The Brooklyn Rail

"One of the reasons why Chekhov is considered to be one of the greatest short story writers is his mastery over time . . . For Now, It Is Night, a recently published collection of short stories of the Kashmiri writer Hari Krishna Kaul, understands this quite well. Many of the 17 stories here deliver precisely that insect-trapped-in-amber feeling. And the exhibit under display is Kashmir itself, in all its contradictions and challenges, upheavals and displacements." — Aditya Mani Jha, The Hindu

“With an impressive eye for detail, biting wit, and deep empathy… Kaul provides an irreverent examination of exile that resonates across time and place.” Nawaid Anjum, The Federal

“Masterfully translated by Tanveer Ajsi, Gowhar Fazili, Gowhar Yaqoob and Kaul’s niece Kalpana Raina, these stories transport readers into the cultural essence of Kashmir while exploring timeless themes of love, morality, death, and the paradoxes underlying human relationships.” – Muhammad Nadeem, Kashmir Life

“Kaul writes as if what oppresses Kashmiris is no longer something historical, human and contingent, but something irrevocable and unyielding. Yet even as he writes in this way, he knows the duplicity of doing so. Yes, let us blame the weather, he says ironically . . . There is much more that could be said about these stories . . . about the wry humour that leavens them, the spirit of Kafka that sometimes seems to flash across a story . . . The labour of love that has produced this beautiful translation will find fertile ground only if we read, reflect upon, and in turn translate these stories into our own thought-worlds.” — Simona Sawhney, The Wire

“Kaul’s writings can be divided into the pre-exile and post-exile era, but his subjects and concerns have always focused on Kashmiris regardless of religion, community, or caste. Everything that influenced his own life, including the trauma of exile, became a subject in his work . . . For Kaul, stories were a medium of self-expression. He carved out portraits of everyday living, and if you look closely, his stories reveal a world of desire and yearning.” — Niyati Bhat, Scroll

“These meditative, minutely-observed stories bring back to life a Kashmiri culture that is tragically fading into the past. Kaul’s observations of everyday life in the valley have a particular poignancy in light of his own displacement in 1990. The personal struggles of his characters take place against a backdrop of political turmoil, and For Now, It Is Night will bring English-speaking readers a new understanding of Kashmir, beyond the headlines.” — Hari Kunzru, author of Red Pill and White Tears

"For Now, It Is Night is a transcendent, breathtaking work. In these pages, Hari Krishna Kaul's writing: nuanced and tender, provocative and witty, manages to balance large questions of homeland, community, and religion with strikingly lovely portraits of ordinary individuals seeking companionship, security, and love. Translated with uncommon sensitivity, these stories pulse with some of the most urgent questions of our time."Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

"While social and political turmoil shapes the situations in these stories, [Kaul’s] empathy is always with his characters, both Hindu and Muslim. Subtle, nuanced and haunting, these tales are meditations on Kashmiri life by a master storyteller. They do more than just engage the reader: they foster understanding." Madhavi S. Mahadevan, Deccan Herald

Product Details
ISBN: 9781953861788
ISBN-10: 1953861784
Publisher: Archipelago
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English