Review by Prof. Ather Siddiqui

Though I had read other novels by Razia Fasih Ahmad, I found none so well written as her latest novel. I consider this as her best though “Sadiyon Ki Zanjeer” may be thought to be Razia’s Magnum Opus, which is also a very well written piece of Urdu literature. “Zakhm-e-Tanhai” is a biographical novel about the famous three Bronte sisters, who are known to the literary world as authors of some of the best classical writings in the English language in the nineteenth century.

In "Zakhm-e-Tanhai" the author has done a tremendous job of presenting the matter in such a manner that you get the feeling of living with the Bronte family. It appears that the author had done a lot of research, spread over several years and probably visited the scene and had successfully grasped the minutest details and the prevalent environment of the nineteenth century England countryside where the Bronte sisters spent their short lives in a small town. I am sure a very keen eye was required to absorb and then describe the details of the surroundings of Haworth, the town of the Bronte family. The description of their austere life, the house, the furniture, the wall paintings, the weather and the English moors is so accurate. It is no doubt a great achievement to catch and describe the real atmosphere of a period that is 150 years old. Reconstruction of the scenes of 1850s England is a marvellous achievement on the part of the author. While reading the novel you become part of the scene and enjoy it so much that you do not wish to give up reading the book. The writing is so gripping that once you start reading the novel you put it down only when you have to. I finished the book in 2 days. After it was finished i felt as if something very dear, an exhilarating experience that you wished to go on, had never come to an end. I congratulate the author for a very successful attempt at writing a biographical novel. Though i had read the novels written by the Bronte sisters long time ago, i did not know much about their trials and tribulations, and their miserable life in Haworth. The set- backs and the tragedy of their life are very touching and create a sense of sympathy for the entire family. All three sisters died young and had a sort of an unfulfilled life, though they were all very successful in the literary field.

At a few occasions, the expressions used by Indo-Pak women seem incongrous and a bit jarring in the flow of the language, even if the novel is written in Urdu, you do not expect such expressions being used by any English women. The author would have done well without using them.

Once again let me congratulate the author on doing a job well done. The publishers need to be congratulated as well to have published a wonderful read about a famous English family in Urdu.

I shall highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Urdu novels.

    Copyright © 2010 Razia Fasih Ahmad