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Of Smokeless Fire

 

 | Book Awards 2022 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

Of Smokeless Fire

Full Title: Of Smokeless Fire: A Novel

Author: A.A. Jafri
Publisher: Penguin Random House India

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

Djinns-the invisible beings made of smokeless fire are Allah’s creations. Human beings cannot create or beget them, but whether it was a djinn or not, a rumour took birth that day that a djinn was born at the residence of Noor ul Haq, bar-at-law.
So begins the story of a lifelong friendship between three unlikely children. Mansoor, the rumoured djinn, who balances his love and loyalty between his devoutly religious mother and his erudite, alcoholic father. Mehrun, the churail-a Medusa-like creature-who struggles to get an English-medium education, the elusive ticket out of poverty. And Joseph, the bhangi, a derisive name for a sweeper, who dreams of becoming a movie star as he cleans the toilets of the rich and powerful. Wearing their insults like a garland, they transgress society’s norm and follow their dreams. Their lives intimately tied to the vagaries of Pakistan’s politics, alternating between tragedies and triumphs.
Of Smokeless Fire is a story about belonging and displacement. It is a reminder that belonging is not just about allegiance, and exile is not just physical. The novel asks the questions: Once you are ripped from your homeland, do you become homeless forever? What does it mean to live in a land that has forsaken you? Whether rooted or uprooted, is your relationship with your country conditioned by its politics?


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