clockroot books

I could not get more pleasure than I do in welcoming
Naiyer Masud’s Snake Catcher into the world. This is a
definitive volume, spanning his early to latest writings,
leaving the reader spellbound by his elliptical and
dramatic prose.
—Sara Suleri-Goodyear, Yale University







snake catcher Snake Catcher

by Naiyer Masud

translated from the Urdu
by Muhammad Umar Memon

Readers of world literature may find something of Kafka in Snake Catcher—or Borges or Garcia Marquez or Murakami. But only if cardamom can be said to be something like cinnamon. It’s best to taste, and call these fictions Masudian, as no other has rendered a fictional world quite like that of this acclaimed storyteller.

Imagine that a single arch is all that remains of a once grand and storied building, and say that a story might be like that arch: spare, precise, singular, open, a portal affording a glimpse of an elaborate past and an uncertain future, of this world and a dream world beyond. Wasn’t there—once—a house? A city of arches and passageways and verandas? A lover peering in a window? Whatever else remains indeterminate in these eleven stark stories, it is certain that at the center of each stands a solitary “I,” one among family and neighbors, one from whose consciousness the story emerges. Pulled along by this always compelling voice, we inhabit in these stories a world in which illusions are as stark as day, and the threads by which we take hold of life are only kindness, and mystery, and want.

ISBN: 9781566566922 • hardback • $24.95 • 320 pages

excerpt from “The Woman in Black”