clockroot books

The most extraordinary fictional voice to have emerged
in world literature this decade.
—Amit Chaudhuri

Even shorn of its immense humanity, Masud’s lyricism
would dazzle, for he is, without doubt, a poet’s storyteller.
—Agha Shahid Ali








Naiyer Masud

Naiyer Masud was born in 1936 in Lucknow, India, and continues to live there today in a mansion built by his father and called “Adabistan” (house of literature). He holds two doctorates: in Persian literature from Lucknow University and in Urdu from Allahabad University. A scholar of Persian and Urdu and a renowned translator of Kafka, he began writing stories in early boyhood. He has published several highly acclaimed collections in Urdu (of which only Essence of Camphor and Snake Catcher exist in English) and is widely considered a master of the Urdu short story.

In 2008, he won the Saraswati Samman award for his collection of short stories, Taa’uus Chaman ki Mayna (The myna from peacock garden; the stories “Lamentation” and “Custody” are taken from this collection). The award, given by the Birla Foundation to an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language, is one of India’s most prestigious literary honors.


Snake Catcher

other links

Destitutes Compound,” story on Words Without Borders

Volume 12 of Urdu Studies, devoted to Masud’s short stories

Interview with Masud by Asif Farrukhi

Absent of the Absent: The Elusive Stories of Naiyer Masud

The Embodiment of Lucknow’s Values”