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Sarim Baig
ISBN # : 9789697701087
Publisher: Mongrel Books
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Saints and Charlatans by Sarim Baig is a collection of interlinked stories set in contemporary Pakistani Punjab. It explores how the increasing intolerance of society compels individuals to become either saints or charlatans, and how its sometimes hard to tell the difference. In the titular story, we meet a line of saints of dubious credentials, a quack who explains the philosophy of charlatanism, and a poet whose sainthood remains a mystery; in Bouganvillea, a boys adventure to impress his hero leads him to an unexpected discovery; in The Third one from the Left, Bubloo Hijazis path to mediocrity is set against the trials and tribulations of the loafers of a snooker club and its owner's cunning way to success; in The Path of the Man-Eater, the strange fates of a group of s strangely talented people is a prelude to the invasion of fanaticism in a boy's fantastical world; in Band in the Rain, a man, while lost in the labyrinth of Rampura, ponders on how an individuals pain translates into art, and finds the answer to be as tortuous as the lanes ahead; in The Lord of Garbage, an old trash picker teaches his young apprentice the art of picking, and what it means to possess something thats been thrown into the garbage. The characters in these nine stories move between the fictional neighbourhood of Rampura in Lahore, and the village of Suratwala which feeds it. Nobody gets to belong to Suratwala village and then mind their own business, and this makes it a big problem for the families whove made it, whove left Suratwala and moved to the city. Written in a classical storytelling style, Saints and Charlatans features a cast of memorable, endearing, vividly sketched characters that pull you in, embrace you with their lively, authentic voices, and leave you bereft on the other side of the covers.

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