Difficult Pleasures (Penguin Viking 2012) is a collection of stories about solitary, brooding types who spend a lot of time inside their own heads. At the same time, these folks are fascinated by what are the, I hope, recognizable urban, contemporary landscapes they live in. The city is a big presence. As are love, childhood disappointments, dreams of travel, relationships with parents, literature, artistic and material aspirations and … water shortages.
FROM THE REVIEWS
“This collection shows a range of subjects, settings and characters, always with an eye on the inner truth and the stumbling ironies of modern life… Writing fiction with craft is an endangered skill today. Hasan cares about getting it just right. There aren’t enough like her around.”
Read full review in New Indian Express
“13 perfectly crafted short stories that subtly explore the urban Indian mind...Anjum Hasan shows sheer mastery and certain brilliance in the way she weaves a plausible story around the ordinary.”
Read full review in Deccan Herald
“Difficult Pleasures is a reminder of what classic short stories are like, and that the most eloquent authors let their characters do the talking.”
Read full review in Timeout (Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru editions).
review in the Hindu Literary Review
full review in The
“Delicious collection of short stories... Hasan has done a masterly job placing these stories before us like delicate, translucent slivers of life…
full review in India
“Each of the 13 stories is a gem…Beautifully
told and effortlessly written.”
Read full review in DNA
“These are humane, unshowy tales that depend more on character than on plot for their effects, and the best of them... are moving and eloquent.”Indian Express
Think of the book [Difficult Pleasures] as a collection of prose photographs, each deftly capturing some version of the urban Indian. You can look at them from a distance while still falling into their lives."
Read full review in Tehelka
# Read an excerpt from my short story "History of Touch" in The Hindustan Times.
# Read my short story "Wild Things" from Difficult Pleasures in Pratilipi.
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"What brought about Difficult Pleasures?
My discovery of the pleasures of the short story — its delicacy and brevity. And my attempt to use this form to explore the many different kinds of urban lives that I'm curious about. Most of my stories are driven by individual, even solitary characters — they are not about big families or community lives. The short story became for me the perfect vehicle to describe specific urban experiences — love and loneliness, ambivalent feelings between parents and children or among siblings, minor dents in marital relationships that can suddenly deepen, where and how artists find inspiration, what a life of travel might do to a person, and so on."Read full interview in the Hindu Literary Review, May 6
Short Fiction >