The four novellas in this volume span the inimitable Ismat Chughtai s literary career, from 1939 to 1971. Each one develops the author s central preoccupation with the lives of women as they experience love, tragedy, societal prescriptions and proscriptions, in collision with their own rebellious spirit. A keen sense of their individual subversive potential and a willingness to take the consequences of obduracy in the face of overwhelming odds, ensures that they are neither hapless nor victims. Through them Chughtai delivers a scathing critique on the hypocrisy and cant of social mores, and the festering maladies that infect society.
Chughtai s characteristic mastery of form and technique, her vivid imagery and richness of language make for marvellous story-telling, and create some of the most memorable female protagonists in Indian literature.