02 January 2008

The Writer as Satchmo

Time for writers to blow a few of their own trumpets even if they don’t bring the walls of Jericho down.Advance praise for the book:

"Brimming with unexpected humour and poignancy, and rich in sub-text, Saidullah’s stories never disappear. They haunt you!”
—Deepa Mehta, director of the Academy Award nominated film Water.

“Ahmad Saidullah is a storyteller with an engaging and original voice and a surfeit of talent.”
—Bapsi Sidhwa, author of Cracking India and Water.

“These remarkable stories are propelled by a quiet but purposeful insight. They twist and turn in delightful ways. Where you would expect anger, there is compassion; where you might anticipate grimness, there is humour. An accomplished first collection.”
—Rabindranath Maharaj, author of A Perfect Pledge

"Obsession and desperate attempts at escape propel these interconnected lives. This is a startling and memorable debut.”
—Catherine Bush, author of Claire’s Head and The Rules of Engagement

Quill and Quire, Canada’s leading publishing trade journal, has given Happiness and Other Disorders: Short Stories a starred feature review. Heather Birrell loved the stories. Some excerpts from the review.

"The author’s stunning prose and subtle sense of the symbolic allow the tales to transcend their conventions. . . Saidullah’s bouts of description are either grounded in sensory detail — “the tinkle from the local shaka, the lowing of cows being milked, the rococo of a distant, laggard cock, and the occasional roar of a lorry rushing past” — or float away on a raft of dreamlike imagery. Either way, the writing is mesmerizing and confident. . . Like his weaver, the author of Happiness and Other Disorders possesses an entirely singular form of ominous and lovely second sight; he also has the literary chops to give it voice. Saidullah is a tale-spinner of the first order, and this collection is both a mystery and a treasure."

Other favourable mentions include Halifax News which names it among his 10 picks and South Asian Outlook. DemiRep writing on the blog Kissing in the Grass picks Happiness as one of five books, after Yann Martel, Garcia Marquez, Margaret Macmillan
 and Stacey May Fowles while Lindsey Keilty of The Daily News picks the book as “hot.” Here’s what was said:

HOT: Diversity

The face of Canadian literature is changing, as many first and second generation immigrant authors compare and contrast their lives before and after coming to this country, writes Clare.

Hamida Ghafour, Ameen Merchant, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Leilah Nadir, Ahmad Saidullah and Darcy Tamayose are a few of the names now emerging as the new voice of Canada.

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