Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Translated from the Hindi by Jason Grunebaum

A street sweeper discovers a cache of black market money and escapes to see the Taj Mahal with his underage mistress; an Untouchable races to reclaim his life that’s been stolen by an upper-caste identity thief; a slum baby’s head gets bigger and bigger as he gets smarter and smarter, while his family tries to find a cure. One of India’s most original and audacious writers, Uday Prakash, weaves three tales of living and surviving in today’s globalized India. In his stories, Prakash portrays realities about caste and class with an authenticity absent in most English-language fiction about South Asia. Sharply political but free of heavy-handedness.

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“Uday Prakash brings news from a world that the English novel doesn't even know existed.”

The Walls of Delhi is reason to cheer the essence of storytelling.”

“[Prakash's] fearlessness in writing and outspokenness against the establishment make him an agent provocateur on behalf of the dispossessed.”

“The narrative is hypnotic, not only in its ability to reveal socio-political situations and extreme poverty, but in the way it interweaves the stories with legends and then offers candid statements referencing world events that make the truth of the message of poverty and corruption very real.”

“Uday Prakash writes of contemporary India with bleak and unblinking scrutiny irradiated by empathy and humanity. His mastery of metaphor and allegory and the power of his style invoke a timeless culture on the cusp of change.”

“Prakash's stories are illuminated by gentle sparkles of humor and hints of magic.”

“You finish each piece and it’s like a slap in the face of realization at what’s just occurred, and you can’t even feel the full sting until the next day or the next week when your mind has had some time to fully digest everything that’s happened. These stories have sticking power.”

“The stories in this collection should be read not only because they are coming from an extremely important voice in Hindi literature, but also because they are not just stories but a profound mapping of our times’ civilisational crisIs resulting from the blend of an awfully oppressive social order and brutal imperialism.”

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One of contemporary Hindi literature’s most important voices, UDAY PRAKASH was born in 1952, in the remote village of Sitapur in Madhya Pradesh. A Communist Party member in his youth, he fled the region for Delhi during the India’s 1975-77 State of Emergency—though not before attaining with distinction his Master’s in Hindi Literature at Saugar University. Prakash has worked for a range of newspapers and television sources in Delhi, all the while publishing poetry and fiction to international acclaim. He is the recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award in India, and his 2013 novel The Walls of Delhi was a finalist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Also a filmmaker and a playwright, Prakash divides his time between New Delhi and Sitapur in Madhya Pradesh.