Contents: Preface. 1. The night’s Stranger/Awaz Sayeed. 2. Last man of the melancholic race/Awaz Sayeed. 3. Dry Well/Awaz Sayeed. 4. Coma/Awaz Sayeed. 5. Love Story/Khalida Hussain. 6. The Spider/Khalida Hussain. 7. The Leaves/Khalida Hussain. 8. Black Hole/Khalida Hussain. 9. Call of the Departed Season/Devendra Issar. 10. The Eve-Afflicted Falcon/Devendra Issar. 11. Another man’s drawing room/Surendra Prakash. 12. The wailing cry/Surendra Prakash. 13. A Dialogue over snow/Surendra Prakash. 14. Bonsai/Asif Farrukhi. 15. Sea Stricken/Asif Farrukhi. 16. The fifty-third card/Abdus Samad. 17. The knock/Mohammad Asim Butt. 18. Denial/Mohammad Asim Butt. 19. A strange spectacle/Bashir Baag. 20. Flowers’ Fragrance N’ colour Fade in air/Asrar Gandhi.
Despairing Voices’ is a collection of short stories translated from Urdu. Vastly dissimilar in background, style, expression, treatment of the subject and their vision, these stories express - in different ways - some of the common concerns of Urdu writers on both sides of the border. These stories, each in its own way, with its unique style, and tone and tenor of language, tell the tale of man in the post-modern world, of the personal predicament that wrecks him, of his existence splintered by the clash of fundamental and glaring contradictions that control his destiny, says the translator, Dr. Syed Sarwar Hussain. Himself has translated and put together in this anthology, an unusually sensitive selection of contemporary Urdu short stories by prominent writers like Khalida Hussain, Asif Farrukhi and Mohammad Asim Butt from Pakistan, and Awaz Sayeed, Surendra Prakash, Devendra Isser, Abdus Samed, Bashir Baag and Asrar Gandhi from India. Dr. Hussain’s translation though nor definitive, as no translation can claim to be, gets closer, nevertheless, to the words and feelings of the original work. His prose is lucid, oftentimes poetic, and consistently fluent, making the book an interesting read. In an introduction to the volume Dr. Hussain gives a brief history of the birth and growth of English short stories, and the blossoming of the genre in the Urdu literature written in India and Pakistan. In addition, the translator gives a brief biographical sketch of each of the authors of stories presented in this volume, as a postscript to the introduction.