Bapsi Sidhwa is a famous Pakistani American writer who has a great contribution to Pakistani literature. Here is the list of Bapsi Sidhwa works that you should read if you are a literature lover.
1: Ice Candy Man (1998)
Ice Candy Man (Cracking India) is one of the important Bapsi Sidhwa works and it is an important work of literature. The plot revolves around the lives of people before the Pre-partition of Sub Continent and the horrific incidents of partition.
In an interview with Voice Over America, Bapsi Sidhwa shares that the character of Lenny in her famous book Ice Candy Man was her. She was also a crumpled child who suffered in her childhood because of polio just like Lenny. Doctors told her parents that she cannot be a professor or doctor and they will treat her to at least the extent that she will be able to produce children. Doctors advised her parents that they should not put the burden of studies on her, as she has weak nerves. Bapsi says that this was a very sad situation.
(Lenny is a character in her famous book Ice Candy Man who witnessed the incidents of partition with her eyes. The book is about a Parsi family and Lenny narrates the whole story. Lenny has a nanny who is suffered most from the partition, abducted and raped.)
2: An American Brat (1993):
In this novel, Sidhwa portrays the lives of humans who find it difficult to adjust to a new environment. The migration to a complete environment does not suit everyone. Some get confused about the clash of cultures and values. The story focuses on the life of Feroza who is a Parsee girl and her struggle to adjust to the new country US.
3: The Bride (1983):
The story of The Bride focuses on the women of tribal areas. Zaitoon is forced to marry a man that she does not like. However, she rebels against the traditions and rituals of her tribe. Sidhwa not only portray women miseries that occurred during partition but also the women of underdeveloped areas. This is one of Bapsi Sidhwa works that is different from others.
4: The Crow Eaters (1978):
The Crow Eaters story revolves around the lives of the Parsi community. The novel focuses on the life of Freddy after he leaves his ancestral home and migrates to Lahore. The detail that Sidhwa provides about family life, household problems and community as a whole is remarkable. In her interview, She says that she enjoyed so much while writing Crow Eaters. She continued to write until it finished. It is a mixture of family, fun and there are also elements of tragedy. Bapsi says that she likes to write comedy more than tragedy and she is more attracted to comedy.
5: Water: A Novel (2006):
The story of Water is set at a time (1938) when it was a common practice of child marriages. The children were forced to marry the old man. After their death, the widow has to spend her life in the ashram, a place where for widows. The story progresses with an eight-year-old girl who reaches an ashram after her husband died. The ashram is not a safe place for women and they are forced to do prostitution. Bapsi wrote this novel after Deep Mehta film Water that was released in 2005. This novel is again one of those Bapsi Sidhwa works that touch on a different theme.
In one of her interview with Voice over America, Bapsi Sidhwa shares her journey of writings and her experience to write about cultures, traditions and communities. The interview is in Urdu and it is available on VOC (voice of America), it was published on 20 April 2020 and it discusses Bapsi Sidhwa works.
Writing is not as easy as it seems, sometimes it needs years of hard work to complete a novel. Bapsi Sidhwa shares that she finds satisfaction in writing novels. She always had this innate ability and emotions in her that she could not resists writings novel.
Nadeem Yaqub asks her about her journey from writing in newspapers to the novel. She shares that she had no idea about her talent or ability but when she started writing the novel, she could not stop herself. In her writing journey, she felt happy and her mind filled with creativity and calmness.
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Bapsi says that she felt lonely as she could not go to school and all the day used to sit in her house, but she was getting private tuitions. Her teacher (who given her a private tuition lesson) gave her the book Little woman by Louisa May Alcott that changed her life. After that, she delved into the ocean of learning and study. There was no library and she had one shelf of books in her house. She had the books of Shakespeare and Milton but at that time she could not understand their writings.
She found Pickwick papers by Charles Dickens interesting and she felt so much happiness in that. The second book that she liked was the book of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. One was funny and another one was sad. These two are her most favourite books even today. (She was sharing her experience in VOA).
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