(Paperback | ISBN 9789388326520 | 152 pp | Dec 2018)
In The Heart Breaks Free, set in pre-Independence UP, Bua, a free-spirited woman in a conservative Muslim household, is goaded into submission by the women in the family. But even as Bua surrenders to the forces of circumstance, Qudsia Apa, an uncomplaining abandoned wife, stuns everyone by transforming into a rebel. She rejects the life of celibacy and denial forced upon her and picks her own life partner, showing future generations the value and pleasure of subversion.
The Wild One is the love story of a servant girl, Asha, and her ‘master’, Puran, in a feudal household where such a relationship can only be a horror and a tragedy unless it is conducted in secret and quickly forgotten. Yet, when Puran can’t muster the strength to defy his class, it is gutsy Asha who manages to beat the odds and win him for herself.
Provocative, witty and intensely human as always, Chughtai delivers in these novellas scathing critiques of the cant and hypocrisy of Indian society.
‘Gloriously provocative…fearless in her writing and acute about female sexuality in a way we still rarely see.’—Kamila Shamsie, The Guardian