A Day in the Life

Quixotic nonconformists in small towns and young newly-weds trying to keep up with the times; a forlorn retiree helpless in the face of contemporary anger and a middle-class woman's bond with her maid. Fourteen well-crafted stories give us a sense of the daily life of a wide cast of characters. Hasan's protagonists are, as always, inward-looking, and whimsical and vulnerable outliers. Where is their place in the new order, where have they come from and where are they going?

Quietly devastating, subtly subversive and wonderfully wry, Hasan is a home-grown talent whose stories are increasingly the good address for authentic Indian fiction.

"A special mix of storytelling and sly memoir. If literature’s task is to describe what it means to be alive, Anjum Hasan is particularly good at capturing life during times of change. Whether writing about present-day Bangalore or Benares in an earlier century, Stockholm or Shillong, she is always an alert and thoughtful observer. And every few lines, there is a word or turn of phrase that makes the heart thud."Amitava Kumar

Penguin India | 2018 | 256 Pages
Penguin South East Asia | 2020

Winner, Valley of Words Award 2019
Shortlisted for the Hindu Best Fiction Award 2018

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From the reviews

“Anjum Hasan's writing has never lacked craft or perspective. The 14 stories in A Day in the Life, Hasan's sixth book, surpass her own exacting standards.”
India Today

“The elegant, pondered and deep-reaching prose of this collection allows subversive humour... to surface effortlessly... Hasan has honed the adroitness of the chameleon, blending in all corners of a contemporary India.”
The Hindu

“Hasan’s prose is introspective, carefully observed, and imbued with more than what is said. This is a slow, reflective prose of indirection, of startling and poetic images, of characters who are outsiders, standing at the margins, who look at the landscape from an angle, of narrators who have more to tell us than what they say.”
Indian Express

“[A] remarkable, radiant collection of short fiction… A Day in the Life sets out to examine, interrogate and sometimes resolve the quotidian in the sparkling—sometimes funny… but always apt—prose Hasan is known for.”

“[T]hese moving, subtly devastating and somehow impossibly humorous stories are meticulously crafted, but they succeed as they do only because they are shot throughout with an astounding degree of empathy. Hasan handles her characters with a dignity and affection that is infectious, as they try, with whatever tools they have at their disposal, simply to make sense of it all.”

“A Day in the Life, set in varied locales across the country, offers a medley of characters, experiences and situations that are not only relatable but beautifully etched, realistic portrayals displaying different levels of inner angst in an extremely nuanced manner.”
New Indian Express

“The ever-present possibility of insight in Hasan’s stories heightens the largely unremarkable settings they play out in… Often, the insights in A Day In The Life emerge from absurd encounters between very different people, and Hasan’s subversiveness in creating quirky occurrences in routine lives is delightful.”
Mint Lounge

“This collection of 14 intricately-crafted short stories offer a happy and eminently readable blend of character, setting and style. These miniature portraits detail lives of ordinary people in today’s impersonal, mechanical urban societies playing out to reveal fascinating insights.”
Deccan Herald

“Almost all the stories are stamped with Ms Hasan’s unique style, which never hurries, is always in control . . . She [writes] with extraordinary skill. Her concerns might be quotidian, but they manage to capture something of the zeitgeist of our times"
Business Standard

“Remarkable and insightful . . . Engrossing . . . Elegant"
National Herald

“Anjum Hasan views life from close quarters and presents an extremely intelligent take on daily living.”
Tribune India