Friday, April 4, 2014

A review in News International's Literati section by Saeed ur Rehman -

Cafe Le Whore: A strange story-world
It is difficult to decide which facts of an author’s life are relevant to a book review. A lot of reviewers have already made a big deal of the fact that Moazzam Sheikh is a Pakistani immigrant living in the USA. An equally important fact is that he is a trained librarian working at a public library in San Francisco. That makes the author, at least professionally, an ally of Borges, perhaps the most famous librarian in contemporary world literature. The alliance is not only professional. The affinity seems to be operating in the way both of them choose their themes and events and symbols they use in their fiction.
Sagheer Malal once described Borges as “a writer who produced literature for other writers.” This also seems to be the case with Moazzam Sheikh’s book CafĂ© Le Whore and Other Stories. The second collection of short stories by Sheikh is a book that breaks almost all the conventions of narration without properly falling into the readily available category of “magical realism.” A potpourri of irreverent, logic-defying, quirky and melancholic short stories, the book should have been . . .