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The Hussaini Alam House [Paperback-2012]
Huma R. Kidwai
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Category:LiteratureLiterary FictionLiterary Fiction-Lfi
Publisher: Zubaan India | ISBN: 9789381017098 | Pages: 213

The central character of my life was the House itself; an old- man-house as houses go... A larger-than-life presence, brooding and funny at the same time, it still permeates my dreams. They are situated in that house. I once resided in it, now it resides in me. I could not belong to any other. When nine-year-old Ayman arrives in Hyderabad in the early 1950s to come and live at the Hussaini Alam House, she little realizes that the house, and its many inmates, will come to haunt her life and shape her destiny as she grows to become a woman. The house is ruled over by her grandfather, a dignified despot, whom everyone but Ayman, her mother and sister, call Sarkar (master). Her mother, the eternal rebel, is irreverent, progressive and a communist: a bomb waiting to explode. Ayman herself alternates between being the ugly duckling of the house and its little princess. Huma Kidwais sensitive and vivid portraits of the characters who teem around the House, offer a window into the customs and mores of a traditional Hyderabadi Muslim family. Narrated by the 40- year-old Ayman as she recalls the events of her past, The Hussaini Alam House is an elegy to a vanished way of life, a lovesong to the people she has loved and lost, and a psychologically nuanced portrait of the women of the household as they tread a fine line between societys expectations and their own yearning for freedom.

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