Ayesha Salman: A new literary voice from Pakistan

Ayesha Salman has lovely excerpts from her forthcoming novel. We are posting a few here:

Excerpt 1

She dreamt of an old haveli. There is a sweet shuffle, the sitar is playing to the wind, the raj of the Mughals is at its peak, breezy music sweeps the lawns, hinged on an ancestral memory, crackling sounds echo, like a scratched LP with two hundred years of dust to prove its wisdom and worth. Dancing girls dance like birds waiting to be fed, their flat empty bellies moving back and forth to the rhythms of their nawabs’ desires. I can smell their soft, clean dupattas, fluttering in the purple wind carrying them to the edge of reason. I long to touch them even when I know they are buried somewhere where I can’t reach them. The sound of their payal jingling in my head, cutting through time.

Excerpt 2

The smell of the dripping blood sky outside: sickness overpowered her. She
wished again she could be transported somewhere else, now, before it was too
late. Her mother looked undistorted, unlike the last head she wore. The creases
on her forehead had smoothed out and she had a cold calmness about her that
was daunting. The dazed doll-like eyes of Zakar had disappeared and a strange
tranquility had set in its place. She had obviously reached a resolution. Alya’s fear

of the unknown almost choked her. The room, with its now immovable objects,
had become absurd.

Zaib smiled her test tube smile.

More on Ayesha’s blog

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