In Haleema’s Words

Book Reviews

Fatima’s novel was launched in Mumbai on October 26, 2012.

Book cover TN

Fatima’s outstanding debut novel is loosely based on reminiscences of her colourful and wholly unconventional life.

Haleema struggles with growing up in a large conservative Muslim household in Hyderabad, misunderstood and emotionally largely neglected by her family. Always rebellious and courageous, she is determined to come to terms with her sheltered yet stifling upbringing. Writing about her feelings offers an escape and when her best friend Parvati (of a Hindu family) insists for her to come to Bombay, she decides to leave the cage.

Plunging into swinging Bombay during the sixties she comes of age and faces life head-on. Haleema experiences love and life with totality; still yearning for more, she continues to reach further out, visiting Amsterdam and moving on to London, where she resides for two years. Unpredictable adventures and relationships dot her path, yet always underlying is her precious and sometimes precarious friendship with vivacious Parvati. The unabashed characterizations of people, descriptions of surroundings and circumstances are laudable as Fatima proves to be a virtuoso of the English language.

This is a sincere and highly provocative novel about living life with no holds barred. Fatima’s sensitive yet passionate prose thrills me in ways that I usually only experience in Salman Rushdie’s books. Highly recommended.

Bhagawati, Osho News

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fatima-portraitFatima Ahmed (aka Ma Prem Fatima) was born in Hyderabad and is a well-known Indian artist with many solo and group shows to her credit; her work is represented in many Indian and international collections. She has translated several top Urdu authors into English and ran a weekly column for the prestigious newspaper ‘The Indian Post’, and later for the tabloid ‘Mid-day’. This is her first novel. Fatima lives in Pune, India.

Find out more about Fatima in ‘Past the Point of No Return

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