Aleph to publish The Silence of the Hyena: Stories & A Novella by Syed Muhammad Ashra; translated by M. Asaduddin and Musharraf Ali Farooqi

INR 599, 224 pp, Fiction

Electrifying animal stories by one of the country’s most formidable contemporary writers. Award-winning writer Syed Muhammad Ashraf is one of the most important contemporary practitioners of the Urdu short story. Often set in rural India, Ashraf’s animal stories are among the most striking and imaginative works of fiction being written in the country today. This collection brings together the best of these tales of the wild, threaded through with a sense of foreboding and danger.

In ‘Rogue, three men set out in a jeep on a winter’s night to hunt a rogue elephant. When they least expect it, monstrous. shadowy shapes begin to materialize out of the thick mist their vehicle is stranded in. In ‘Death of an Antelope. the ageing leader of a herd of blackbuck is challenged for his position by a young buck with fatal consequences. In three linked stories—’The Hyena Laughed’, ‘The Hyena Cried’, and ‘The Silence of the Hyena’—the shadow of the hyena, one of the craftiest and most ruthless predators in the forest, is always present in the narrative about the lives of men and women who live on the edge of the jungle, until man and animal become one and it is difficult to tell who is the more dangerous. And, in Musharraf Ali Farooqi’s translation of the novella Numberdar ka Neela (The Beast), the destinies of a blue bull and its owner, the village administrator, are intertwined—the fate of one will mark the other.

Unsettling and electrifying, The Silence of the Hyena is storytelling at its best.


SYED MUHAMMAD ASHRAF is an Urdu novelist and short-story writer of great distinction. He has written two novels and several collections of short stories. Some of his stories have been translated into English and other languages. He has received the Sahitya Akademi Award and several other awards.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATORS Author, critic, and translator M. ASADUDDIN writes on syncretic cultural traditions in India, literature, and language politics. He is currently Dean. Faculty of Humanities and Languages. and former director, Centre for Comparative Religions and Civilizations. He was Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Rutgers University, New Jersey, 2008-2009, and a Charles Wallace Trust Fellow at the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, 2000. He has lectured at the universities of Delhi. Kolkata, Dhaka, Paris, Oxford, Cambridge, East Anglia, Chicago, Rutgers. New York, St. Louis, North Carolina. and Wisconsin. Among his twenty books are Image and Representation: Stories of Muslim Lives in India (with Mushind Hasan), Filming Action: Tagore, Premchand, and Ray, Premchand in World Languages: Translations, Reception and Cultural Representations, and Premchand: The Complete Short Stories. He has received the Katha Award, Dr A. K. Ramanujan Award, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Crossword Book Award.

MUSHARRAF ALI FAROOQI is the author of Between Clay and Dust (finalist, the Man Asia Literary Prize. 2012), The Story of a Widow (finalist, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, 2008; longlisted for the IMPAC/Dublin Literary Prize), and other novels. He is the translator, among other works, of the epic, The Adventures of Amir Hamza and Hoshruba. Farooqi is the editor of the Online Urdu Thesaurus and founder of the Storykit Program. He is a Harvard University Fellow.

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