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Outlook.com
Review

Found: A Treasure In Translation

The fascinating world of Akhtar’s fiction opens to the English-reading world with this book

Found: A Treasure In Translation
Found: A Treasure In Translation
outlookindia.com
2017-01-28T11:32:44+05:30

Were it not for translations, we the reading public would, in a word, be mehroom of many unknown-unt­old-unimaginable delights. Reading Bilal Tanweer’s almost seamless translation of Muh­ammad Khalid Akhtar’s novella Love in Chakiwara & Other Misadventures, one is rem­inded afresh of the role of translators in opening windows into new and exciting worlds, worlds that would regre­ttably be closed for a great many due to the picket fences of script and literary cultures. Tanweer’s translation brings to life a world that is hard to believe, but actually exists in Urdu. For it contains elements that are far removed from the stereotypes of popular imagination.

Imagine the puckish humour of Mark Twain mingled with the whimsicality of a P.G. Wodehouse. Imagine the cosmopolita­nism of a James Hadley Chase meeting the gentle ribbing of Urdu’s best-loved humourist, Mushtaq Yousufi. Imagine, if you will, Jerome K. Jerome living in a lower middle class Karachi neighbourhood and recording all the strange and wonderful happenings in a daily chronicle of three friends and a motley group of neighbours and acquaintances. Or for that matter, imagine the strange and evocative world of Robert Louis Stevenson—an apt com­parison as Akhtar has admitted to calling himself a ’disciple’ of the Scottish writer—transposed from its Victorian-era high noon of colonialism and adventurism to a post-colonial Pakistan.

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