People Burning in Ice
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What makes Hakeem Abdul Rauf Kiani’s short stories so pleasurable and fascinating? It is the force, directness, honesty and accuracy with which he depicts the most essential aspects of human experience.
He plumbs deeper depths of the psyche. His book of short stories collection titled ‘People Burning in Ice’, translated into English by Mohammad Akram, in its entirety, not only entertains but also provides insight into forms and secrecies of human nature. His short stories such as Justification, The Mosque, Majestic, and Miss Call reveal.
Despite belonging to the classical tradition of fiction, which believed in storytelling, thus assigning centrality to the story, Kiani traverses a literary path of his own. He practices it to great perfection.
He is not noisy. He tells his stories in a detached way without trying to put his ideology in his characters’ mouths. He crystallizes his personal experiences so well in his short stories that make them interesting.
Kiani’s mastership is not in the idea itself but the building of the plot of the story that he does with graceful conviction and patience. He abstains from the influence of any patronizing literary force and keeps himself away from such effect. He does not believe in copying the trend and remains focused on his art of storytelling.
While writing he is never in a hurry and uncivilized in his expression. True to his moderate temperament, he writes softly, aiming for spotless expression. He has his own way of writing. He stands distinguished for his sense of serenity and restraint.
His well-knit stories steeped in the realist mode of expression are his real strength. He makes use of realistic details and transforms them into delightful lifelike accounts of situations carrying deep social significance. His skill is at his best when he writes on social issues.
In his short stories, Kiani often exposes shortcomings, weaknesses, and hypocrisy in human beings. However, his tone is never sarcastic or venomous.
His approach to the human heart and soul is amazing. I could mention the breadth and depth of his range, his skill at making the story characters seem flawless, the fact that though they inhabit the same place and era — each of them is different from the others. His ability to persuade the readers that human nature is varied is remarkable.
Hakeem Abdul Rauf Kiani’s imaginings are not wild; he writes about men and women of the soil and their behavioral patterns. His short stories seem not only plausible but also convincing; his characters seem real to us, vibrant, and abundantly contemporary.
Kiani’s uncanny skill at revealing the deepest emotions of characters in his short stories; the ambition and insight that suffuses their small moments and; the subtlety with which he meticulously portrays his mysterious characters is marvelous.
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