Shahriar Shaams

Shahriar Shaams has written for SUSPECT, Third Lane Mag (forthcoming), Commonwealth Writers’ Adda, Six Seasons Review, and Jamini. Find him on twitter @shahriarshaams.

When death is a performance

Kaveh Akbar’s Martyr! is unruly and endearing. Akbar’s years as a poet has given his debut novel an honesty that shines through the book’s arduous structure. And for all of Martyr!’s exhilarating tone and emotional trek, the difficulties of writing a novel on addiction, martyrdom, death, and meaning is evident when one reads it.

2w ago

Celebrating the best of Bengali short fiction

Bengali literature has had a rich history of prose, beginning more or less in the early 19th century under the colonial Raj.

1m ago

Unseen chains of consequences

When a few boys arrive at the couple’s flat to seek out their college-going daughter, Rekha, the parents are thrown into a whirlwind of adventure.

1m ago

Hair cream

The mosque committee was quite displeased with Rashed, their young muezzin.

2m ago

Human passions in Kurosawa’s Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s enduring international appeal is in part due to the remarkable personalities he had invented.

2m ago

The Precious O

That split second when the rubber slaps your skin and stays, when there is a click of a switch, a levitation, a lightness of your body—everyone remembers the first time they are knocked out, everyone except Mr Suleyman Khar, regional light-heavyweight titleist,

3m ago

Meditations on sanity in ‘Hospital’

Though on its surface Sanya Rushdi’s  Hospital, translated into English by Arunava Sinha and recently longlisted for the 2024 Stella Prize, looks to be a breezy, short read—it is anything but. With her rather flattened, sparse prose, Rushdi has managed to write an enduring piece of autofiction, a compelling account of psychosis that neither sensationalises nor withers away any sentimentality from the struggles of mental health.

3m ago

The enchanting realism in Shahaduz Zaman’s ‘The Mynah Bird’s Testimony’

Shahaduz Zaman is a familiar face in Bangladeshi literature, whose literary career spans decades of fruitful work. He regularly writes columns for Bangla newspapers, has written a few notable biographical fiction, such as Ekjon Komolalebu (Prothoma, 2017), based around the life of Jibanananda Das, and has garnered some duly needed appreciation for ethnographic work on the history of medicine during the liberation war.

5m ago
November 23, 2023
November 23, 2023

Despair and death in ‘Truth or Dare’

Bangladeshi literature in English has had a considerably late start compared to its South Asian counterparts in India and Pakistan. A few exceptions aside, a consistency came to be seen only by the early 2010s.

October 19, 2023
October 19, 2023

In search of American freedoms

Increasingly over the years, American literary fiction has centered upon rage—a rage brought on by family, one’s own identity or, through the very cruelty of economic catastrophe.

October 13, 2023
October 13, 2023

An underwhelming kidnapping

Perhaps the book's biggest fault is that it ends up being (unintentionally or not) a response to Nabokov’s Lolita.

September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023

The records of resilience

Much of the reminiscences in The Murti Boys encompass the grittiness of staving off the Pakistanis with little weaponry and a great deal of quick thinking. 

September 14, 2023
September 14, 2023

The occult thrills of ‘The Centre’

Rarely does a book arrive, a debut no less, that feels as inventive and accomplished as Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi’s The Centre. Her novel is built on the crossroads of interpretation and ownership, of the power of language and of those privileged enough to reclaim it.

August 28, 2023
August 28, 2023

The minority report in India

In Another India, Pratinav Anil unambiguously faults Nehruvian secularism—the very mantle championed by historians such as Mushirul Hasan for whom “the congress best represented the Muslim interests from the fifties on.”

August 10, 2023
August 10, 2023

The straight and narrow vision of ‘Crook Manifesto’

Colson Whitehead’s sequel to his novel Harlem Shuffle (Doubleday, 2021) is a continuation of the exact same order.

July 5, 2023
July 5, 2023

The pirates of Madagascar

In this posthumous effort, 'Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia' (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023), Graeber posits, in characteristic fashion, that the Enlightenment would not have happened if not for the pirates around the Malagasy coast.

June 19, 2023
June 19, 2023

Cormac McCarthy: A great American novelist

For a nation that cannot boast of a Cervantes or Rabindranath, there will always be a need to find an All-American, a unifier who assures them of their place in the hallowed halls of literature. Cormac McCarthy, more than any other writer of his generation, was equipped to shoulder that title.

June 3, 2023
June 3, 2023

Like father, unlike son: Martin Amis’s place in literature

Perhaps Martin Amis’s works do not grab me for the most part because it veers too far away from the humanism of, say, Saul Bellow—a writer Martin greatly admires and has written about extensively.

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