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Four Dervishes

9781781726310
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In Four Dervishes, Hammad Hassan Rind takes the dastan, an ornate form of oral history, and creates a social satire with elements of magic realism. Drawing on a long tradition of oral storytelling, Rind finds meaning for the anonymous central character whose partner has left him and whose inspiration is equally absent. In the stories within stories of the novel, sons follow in the father’s footsteps (sometimes unwittingly), crimes are committed, dark family secrets are revealed, fortunes rise and fall, self-discoveries occur, and an unforeseen circularity shows that there is little new in life. Just as the central character’s circumstances are resolved, a new cycle is poised to begin. The narratives in Four Dervishes range across centuries, from the present in Middle East, through the recent past in Cardiff and into a more distant past which belongs as much in fable and folklore as it does in history. Lavishly inventive, verbally rich – Rind speaks nine languages – an exotic confection, this novel is also playful and humorous despite dark themes. One reader calls it “a fine, supercharged piece of work which sends writing from Wales rocketing in a new direction and is its own fireworks display of ideas and language. It’s a bravura display.”