Difficult Pleasures

A solitary economist drives from France to Sweden to try and redeem a tragedy; a boy fervently hopes his father will not miss his appearance in a school play; a painter on the way to Europe is about to board the wrong flight; a village boy leaves school for the bright lights of Bangalore; a man tries to stop time.

Penguin India | 2012 | 247 Pages
Brass Monkey Books Australia | 2010
Shortlisted for the Hindu Best Fiction Award 2012
Shortlisted for the Crossword Fiction Award 2012

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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.”
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.”
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.”

"The 13 stories in Difficult Pleasures are a good indicator why Anjum Hasan is widely regarded as a rising star on the literary horizon, as fluid in prose as poetry."
Hindu Literary Review

"Delicious collection of short stories... Hasan has done a masterly job placing these stories before us like delicate, translucent slivers of life…”
India Today

“The short stories are masterfully crafted, and examine people and their relationships through a lens that is at once thoughtful, critical and ironic.”

"Hasan's brilliance shines through in her choice of situation and emotional space. These are situations people usually don't think and talk about, let alone spin stories out of, yet she manages to make them feel somehow familiar."
Asian Cha

“While many are brutally honest in admitting the fact that short story is a genre struggling hard under the shadow of its mightier cousin, the novel, the arrival of a collection of short stories like Difficult Pleasures …busts all such myths.
The Telegraph

“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

"Each of the 13 stories is a gem…Beautifully told and effortlessly written.”
The Tribune

“The lyrical style and intricate detailing of her characters’ inner selves that was evident in her novels, works even better in this collection of short stories.”

"Anjum Hasan has to be appreciated for her simple writing and the soul-stirring conversations... The stories are unpredictable and you will get hooked."
Express Buzz

"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."