Musharraf Ali Farooqi s new novel, set in an unnamed Pakistani city shortly after Partition, unravels the lives of Ustad Ramzi, one of the greatest wrestlers of the land, who is now old and warmed only by the memories of his past, and the equally renowned Gohar Jan, a courtesan whose kotha once welcomed lords of the land but is now in danger of being shut down. Through the course of this book we witness Ustad Ramzi s almost fanatical devotion to his craft and his akhara, and the attempts of his younger brother Tamami also a wrestler to rise from the towering shadow of Ustad Ramzi. We witness, also, the unusual, unspoken bond that grows between the celibate wrestler and the elegant courtesan, both past their prime. Spare, haunting and exquisitely written, Between Clay and Dust is a remarkably original offering from a novelist working at the height of his powers.
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Published May 17, 2012
by Aleph Book Company.