Hello, Book Dragons! Today I would like to welcome you all on my stop of the Blog Tour for Of Necessity & Wanting By Sascha A. Akhtar and I would like to share a short extract from the book, with all of you. Please do show some love to all the wonderful book bloggers on this blog tour by following and sharing their work. 🙂
Publisher: The 87 Press
Genre: Collection of stories.
Release date: 11 10 2020
Price*: Paperback £10.00 (GBP)
Pages: ~ 240
You can get this book here:
Description of the book: Of Necessity & Wanting is a collection of lyrical, atmospheric stories of varying lengths set in urban Pakistan. At its forefront are the concerns of people who are lower down on the metaphorical ‘chain’ of status and power, especially in the context of their symbiotic relationship with those they see as ‘other,’ ‘privileged’ or ‘fair.’ Akhtar’s breathtaking prose, which combines social realism with complex and intricate plots, desires, and psychogeographies, represents a groundbreaking exploration of women’s rights, such as independence and emancipation, in South Asia.
Extract: 1 * A Fine Balance
Guddi has a memory that she re-visits often. The sky is a blue canopy emitting a sheen of pure warmth — its hot light penetrating the eyes to the optic core. She is standing on the roof-top of her aunt’s sprawling house in the city of Lahore. As far as the eye can travel, there are clusters of people crowded on rooftops silhouetted against the dazzling firmament.
Sound fills the atmosphere almost as much as the sensation of light — shouts, giggles, and yelps of celebration. Guddi looks to the sky and feels her heart whizzing upwards. Bursts of colour emblazon the view — mustard-yellow kites with fluttering cherry-red tails, emerald kites with turquoise tails streaking through the sky, aquamarine, tangerine, amethyst all flying at different heights like a cubist rainbow in the noon-day Lahore sky.
Her father’s hair still thick is billowing in the wind, his impressive moustache firmly attached to his face. This is one of the rare occasions that he wears a starched white shalwar kameez instead of a bush shirt with trousers.
‘Abba! Let me have a go! Let me have a go!’ Guddi insists. Abba is thrilled to have his daughter as a companion.
‘Now not too tight or the string might break and not too loose or the kite won’t fly. It’s a balance Guddi,’ he tells her.
It takes Guddi a while to get the hang of it. She just cannot make the flappy, papery thing fly and is getting dispirited. But her father patiently stays by her side, holding her hand while flying the kite himself, allowing her to believe it is her doing it. Until Presto!
He deftly removes his hand and it is just she, Guddi flying the kite alone, elated and proud. Her father stands shielding his eyes against the sun with his hand looking into the distance at the kite, tracking its progress.
‘I did it, Abba!’ Guddi squeals, ‘I did it!’ Abba is very proud.
‘See — it’s just a balance. A fine balance,’ he says gently — a fine balance between flying and floundering.
Then her irritating cousins Saif and Ari cut her kite down hacking into the string with the ground glass in theirs. Her kite falls with an unceremonious smack on the concrete rooftop, listless and unmoving. Guddi bursts into fat, rolling tears. How the idiots hoot and holler. Abba goes over to them and gives them a piece of his mind.
They are then banned from the rooftop by her bustling aunt.
About the author: Sascha Akhtar is a Poetry School Tutor and judge for the Streetcake Prize for Experimental Writing. Her course ‘Breaking Through Writer’s Block,’ has been published by The Literary Consultancy, London as part of their ground-breaking #BeingAWriter programme. Known for her prolific poetry, Sascha Akhtar has also had her fiction published in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic, MookyChick & Storgy. A book of translations of pioneering feminist fiction writer Hijab Imtiaz from the Indian Subcontinent is due in 2021 with Oxford University Press, India. Her short fiction collection Of Necessity & Wanting will be published by the87press in 2020.
Facebook: @ChoisirLeMotJuste / Twitter: @AkhtarSascha
*-the price was taken from Waterstones.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase.