Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: Love In Chakiwara And Other Misadventures

Title: Love In Chakiwara And Other Misadventures
Author: Muhammad Khalid Akhtar
Translator: Bilal Tanweer
Publisher: Pan Macmillan


If we are to believe Eliot Weinberger, “translators are the geeks of literature.” And rightly so. Though a creative enterprise, translators need to face the challenge of rendering a language resonantly in another. Mere translation of the words doesn’t suffice. In translating ‘Love in Chakiwara and Other Misadventures,’ Bilal Tanweer has proved his mettle. He has done an excellent job of translating the author’s genius. He has successfully got Akhtar’s humour over and across the language barrier. The original story, ‘Chakiwara mein Visaal’ was written by Muhammad Khalid Akhtar in 1964 and even fifty years later, his story holds a charm for the readers.  
The book is set around a small Karachi neighbourhood called Chakiwara, and the chronicler of the daily drama is Iqbal Hussain Changezi. He is a bakery owner and the collector of writers and geniuses.
Akhtar’s Chakiwara is an amalgamation of fiction and reality. It is a balanced concoction of the prosaic and the other worldly. A curious world opens up for us as we follow the author’s narrative. The narrow, labyrinthine lanes of the old quarters of Karachi with its ramshackle shops shadowed by faded and worn out signboards stir a longing in the reader for a chance visit to an era long gone. There’s more than meets the eye with regard to the characters and their ordinary lives but with extraordinary proclivities. A satirical work, this book presents to us a world as bright as a summer’s day and as dark as a moonless night.
The cover design is alluring enough to draw one’s attention towards the book, from wherein, the story takes over and does its job wonderfully. The author’s writing style supports his story very well and creates a captivating atmosphere throughout.

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About the Author:

Muhammad Khalid Akhtar was born in 1920 in Bahawalpur, to a family of scholars. An engineer by training, he began writing in his early twenties. Khalid Akhtar produced numerous stories, essays and travelogues, many of which were published in the Urdu magazine Sawera. Love in Chakiwara (Chakiwara Mein Visaal), one of his best-known works, was written in 1964 and won the Adamjee Literary Award. Khalid Akhtar died in Karachi in 2002.

About the Translator:

Bilal Tanweer is the author of the novel the Scatter Here Is Too Great, which won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. He has translated works by Sa’adat Hasan Manto and novels by Ibn-e Safi. His writings have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, the Caravan, Granta and Words Without Borders.

I'd like to thank the author for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading! 

* I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy:

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like an interesting read.. Would love to read it.