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