DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 Shadow Jury – And the winner is….

Title:  The Mirror of Beauty

Author: Shamsur Rahman Faruqi

Translator:  Translated by the author from Urdu

Publisher:  Penguin, New York (2014)

ISBN:  978 0 143422 73 0


Publishers Description:  It is the sunset of the Mughal Empire. The splendour of imperial Delhi flares one last time. The young daughter of a craftsman in the city elopes with an officer of the East India Company. And so we are drawn into the story of Wazir Khanam: a dazzlingly beautiful and fiercely independent woman who takes a series of lovers, including a Navab and a Mughal prince—and whom history remembers as the mother of the famous poet Dagh. But it is not just one life that this novel sets out to capture: it paints in rapturous detail an entire civilization.

Of the five books shortlisted for the DSC Prize I only managed to read four.  The Mirror of Beauty, at 985 pages, was the one book I didn’t manage to get to. There just wasn’t enough time.

But when Stu, Lisa & I started discussing which book should win it quickly became a process of elimination. We all agreed one book was good, but not a prize winner. Another novel two of us did not like, one of us did. Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera was a close runner up.

In the end both Stu’s & Lisa’s glowing recommendations of Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s beautiful, epic novel made it the only possible choice.

Click on the links below to their reviews to see why:

Stu’s review of The Mirror of Beauty at Winston’s Dad

Lisa’s review of The Mirror of Beauty at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog


The official winner will be announced this Thursday, January 22nd.


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