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The Lovers and the Leavers Hardcover – 3 Aug 2015
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"Hoque is one of the most exciting writers working both in and out of the subcontinent… Her fiction is made up of that rare mixture: searingly clean passion alloyed with the courage to take risks with form." - Ruchir Joshi
"Prose interleaves poetry interleaves photography. The effect is dazzling." - Mridula Koshy
"Abeer Hoque gifts her readers three distinct pleasures in this collection: the crystalline clarity of her photography, the quiet elegance of her poetry, and the vivid sensuality of her prose." - Salil Tripathi
"In lyrical and playful prose, sometimes in the cadence of bansuri melodies, other times with the bounce of hard rock, these stories speak of love, fierce as a runaway car, soft as a moan." - Mahmud Rahman, author of Killing the Water and translator of Black Ice
"Lush and lyrical, raw and unnerving, The Lovers and The Leavers is an impressive debut." - Sheba Karim, author of Skunk Girl and editor of Alchemy: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories 2
"Written with cool assurance, the interlinked stories of this debut novel zing around our troubled and exciting globalized world." - Kaiser Haq, author of Pariah and Other Poems
About the Author
Abeer Y. Hoque is a Bangladeshi American writer and photographer, born in Nigeria. The Lovers and the Leavers is her first book of fiction. She has a book of travel photographs and poems, The Long Way Home, and her memoir, Olive Witch, is forthcoming from HarperCollins Publishers India. Hoque is the recipient of a 2007 Fulbright Scholarship, among several other writing fellowships. Her writing and photography have been published in Guernica, Outlook Traveller, India Today, and The Daily Star. She has degrees from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit olivewitch.com.
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The stories are inter-linked, sometimes through characters, sometimes through events or locations, but are standalone gems as well. Since I got to read them all together, in this collection, I savoured the thoughts and feelings even more, as the sense of being overwhelmed never left me as such, the strains carried through from one story to another. The journey was long and winding, through Dhaka, Chennai, Barcelona, USA, etc. and I did not want it to end, as I got more and more glimpses into the lives and times of various characters. So here I am smiling along with Komola at love's doorstep, rushing to Rox's side as she tumbles into watery depths of lust, then running back to shed tears for Alo and poor Kishmish, listening raptly to Shagor's rejection of Modhu, seeing Ila dance with her "makorsha" steps, as spellbound with her as was Oyon and Tahsin, getting high and crashing even lower with Oyon, watching Rox and Arul collide again and again, as if for them, time just keeps turning itself, and then finally sinking my feet in mud and squalor with Gabriel and Pilar...it just goes on and on, all these people, some sure of their ways, some confused and willing to let it be, some wild and reckless, some lost in their sensitivities, all bound together by their own faith.
Hoque's words make her stories extraordinary...the poems, every single one of them touched my heart in so many ways, I read them again and again, some out loud, only to hear how the words would sound as they were spoken, strung together, again like a song with no end. The prose is lyrical, goes without saying, and reading the sentences felt akin to watching a watercolour painting being created, as different colours merged into each other to create the final vision- a true work of art, to savour and applaud. The photos brought in the fun element for me, as each would create a sense of mystery, a prologue in black and white to the story ahead, and when I would grasp fully the photo's significance, it would be my eureka moment, laced with a contented sigh!
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