Another Gulmohar Tree

Sameer Rahim in The Telegraph:

Aamer_hussein_stor_1426177f Aamer Hussein writes only short fiction. Since 1993 he has published four collections of stories set mainly in Pakistan and London. Among those who appreciated his early work, there was an expectation that a full-scale novel would follow. It has not. In fact his last two books, Turquoise (2002) and Insomnia (2007), have been his most compact in terms of length and style.

His new book, Another Gulmohar Tree, barely breaks 100 pages. It tells the story of a marriage between an Englishwoman and a Pakistani in the Fifties. Lydia first meets Usman at a symposium at Senate House in London. She wants to hear the discussion on newly independent countries. He is spending a year on The Daily Telegraph’s foreign desk and is speaking on behalf of Pakistan. They soon form a close friendship: “When Usman was with Lydia, everything seemed spontaneous and natural, even the long silent lapses in their conversation.” She is a painter and he is a story writer. Lydia suggests they work together on translating his stories which, unlike other writers of his background, are in Urdu. “You don’t choose the language you write in, it chooses you,” Usman tells her.

More here.