Zulfikar Ghose 1935-
Pakistani novelist, poet, essayist, short story writer, literary critic, and autobiographer.
The following entry provides an overview of Ghose's career through 1996. For further information on his life and works, see CLC, Volume 42.
Often experimental in form and theme, Ghose's works are infused with realism, magic-realism, metaphor, symbolism, and allegory to create a metaphysical reality. He frequently employs mimetic strategies within his writing to force the reader to re-examine the purpose of the text. Ghose implicitly challenges the reader to acknowledge that storyline and language are secondary to a piece of writing and are merely tools the author manipulates to convey his message. His work often expresses the viewpoint of a culturally alienated individual and relates not only to his own sense of displacement from his homeland, but suggests a wider response to life in a post-colonial society.
Ghose was born in 1935 in Sialkot. At the time of his birth, Sialkot was a part of India, but after the partition of India in 1947, the city became part of Pakistan. Although his family is Muslim, in 1942 they moved to Bombay, a primarily Hindu city. At the time of the partition and India's subsequent independence from Britain, Muslim-Hindu relations became violently unstable. In 1952 Ghose and his family moved to England. He attended secondary school in Chelsea and in 1955 enrolled in the University of Keele. At Keele he was introduced to fellow poets B. S. Johnson and John Fuller and also to “The Group”—a collective of poets that included Peter Porter, Anthony Smith, George MacBeth, and Peter Redgrove. Ghose received his B.A. in 1959 and began working as a sports journalist, part-time literary critic, and teacher, all the while submitting poems to periodicals. In 1964 he published his first collection of poetry, The Loss of India, as well as a collection of short stories written with B. S. Johnson, Statement against Corpses. He wrote his autobiography, Confessions of a Native-Alien (1965) at the age of thirty; his first novel, The Contradictions (1966), was released a year later. In 1969 Ghose accepted a professorship at the University of Texas, Austin, a position he still holds today.
In much of his poetry Ghose examines the theme of the outsider seeking his place in the world. The Loss of India focuses on the bittersweet nostalgia Ghose feels for his homeland despite his fondness for life in the West. The poems in this collection are autobiographical in theme and contain many references to nature. The poems in Jets from Orange (1967) similarly evoke impressions of movement and rootlessness, but focus more on change and industry rather than nature. In The Violent West (1972), Ghose records his observations of his new homeland, Texas, and is increasingly introspective regarding his displacement from the East. The poems in this collection are more experimental in form and style than those in his previous collections. A Memory of Asia: New and Selected Poems (1984) and Selected Poems (1991) provide an overview of Ghose's poetry.
The theme of cultural dislocation is dominant in Ghose's first novel, The Contradictions, in which an English woman is unable to find her place, either in her homeland or in the unfamiliar society of India, where her husband is stationed. In his next novel, The Murder of Aziz Khan (1967), Ghose broadens his range of characters and concerns to relate a story of a Pakistani farmer's unsuccessful attempt to resist three unscrupulous brothers from usurping his land. Ghose's fascination with the enduring human spirit is also evident in his acclaimed Brazilian Trilogy, which spans four centuries of Brazilian history. The first volume, The Incredible Brazilian: The Native (1972), recounts the adventures of Gregório, the son of a rich plantation owner, and provides a vivid portrait of seventeenth-century Brazil. Gregório appears again in The Beautiful Empire (1975), which follows his life through a succession of triumphs and failures during the late 1800s, a time of change and development in Brazil. The vision of Brazil as a tempestuous, vibrant environment is also present in the last volume of the trilogy, A Different World (1978), in which Gregório reappears as a revolutionary in a contemporary setting. Ghose returns to an English locale in Crump's Terms (1975), a fanciful novel in which a schoolteacher reminisces about the events of his life in stream-of-consciousness prose that sometimes takes the form of dialogue with his students. Hulme's Investigations into the Bogart Script (1981) is even more unconventional, combining a variety of narrative styles and techniques in an exploration of language, words, and their meaning. Ghose's next two novels closely resemble the Brazilian trilogy in tone and setting. A New History of Torments (1982) is the story of a South American ranch family whose tranquility is permanently disturbed by a curse brought on by the father's affair with a young woman. Don Bueno (1983) also involves a family curse, this one handed down from generation to generation, and it, too, is a vivid, epic tale set in South America. Ghose again addresses exile and displacement in Figures of Enchantment (1986), a novel that is also set in South America and is a rewriting of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. In The Triple Mirror of the Self (1992) the setting is split among South America, England, and pre-partitioned India. The main focus of the novel is the quest by one man to uncover the mystery surrounding a partial autobiography of a man with whom he is merely acquainted. The story proceeds in reverse chronological order and the answer to the mystery lies in India.
Ghose has also published two collections of short stories, Statement against Corpses (1964) and Veronica and the Gongora Passion: Stories, Fictions, Tales, and One Fable (1998), and an autobiography Confessions of a Native-Alien. His critical volumes Hamlet, Prufrock, and Language (1978), The Fiction of Reality (1984), The Art of Creating Fiction (1991), and Shakespeare's Mortal Knowledge (1993), present Ghose's ideas regarding technique and reality in fiction.
Ghose is a prolific writer, but his writing is not always widely reviewed because of the experimental and non-traditional aspects of many of his works. Ghose's literary criticism has earned praise for his skillful and compelling presentation of ideas. His earlier poems are characterized by vivid imagery and nostalgia for India/Pakistan. Many reviewers have also noted the influence of “The Group” on these early poems and emphasize Ghose's careful construction and attention to technique. His later poetry is considered groundbreaking in form and style, imaginative in theme, and focused more on the art and mechanics of poetry. Commentators praise Ghose's manipulation of technique to achieve his effects. In his poetry at times the meter or form abruptly changes to draw attention away from the “story” of the poem and to lead the reader to focus on the mechanics of the poem, while in fiction Ghose often uses mimetic ploys that lead nowhere, forcing the reader to rethink the reality of words versus the reality of the larger story. His fiction is difficult to classify, but is noted for embodying aspects of post-colonial literature, magic realism, stream-of-consciousness, fantasy, and allegory. Some commentators find that Ghose's experimental style detracts from the story and frustrates the reader, while others applaud these techniques because they engage the reader to become active in the search for reality in the text. The novels in his Brazilian trilogy, while less experimental, were more widely reviewed, garnered higher acclaim, and were accepted by a broader range of readership. Some critics believe that Ghose's writing is at its best when he relaxes his form, as in the Brazilian trilogy and in his more recent poetic endeavors, and when he writes from a more personal point of view, as in The Triple Mirror of the Self.
The Loss of India (poetry) 1964
Statement against Corpses [with B. S. Johnson] (short stories) 1964
Confessions of a Native-Alien (autobiography) 1965
The Contradictions (novel) 1966
Jets from Orange (poetry) 1967
The Murder of Aziz Khan (novel) 1967
The Incredible Brazilian: The Native (novel) 1972
The Violent West (poetry) 1972
Crump's Terms (novel) 1975
The Incredible Brazilian: The Beautiful Empire (novel) 1975
Hamlet, Prufrock, and Language (criticism) 1978
The Incredible Brazilian: A Different World (novel) 1978
Hulme's Investigations into the Bogart Script (novel) 1981
A New History of Torments (novel) 1982
Don Bueno (novel) 1983
The Fiction of Reality (criticism) 1984
A Memory of Asia: New and Selected Poems (poetry) 1984
Figures of Enchantment (novel) 1986
The Art of Creating Fiction (nonfiction) 1991
Selected Poems (poetry) 1991
The Triple Mirror of the Self (novel) 1992
Shakespeare's Mortal Knowledge (criticism) 1993...
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SOURCE: Barnes, Anne. Review of The Beautiful Empire, by Zulfikar Ghose. Times Literary Supplement, no. 3853 (16 January 1976): 65.
[In the following review, Barnes observes that Ghose's experimental prose in The Beautiful Empire is difficult to follow and detracts from the story.]
“I wandered the streets”, says the hero of The Beautiful Empire, “saying Brazil, Brazil with each step I took.” And as he does so he presents a squalid picture of the rubber trade in the Amazon jungle in the nineteenth century. Every sort of tawdry scene is crammed into the action to stress the excitement of Brazil: there is a selection of rape and brothel scenes; a great deal of blackmail; a cholera epidemic and the mass murder of an Indian tribe. Various primitive religious ceremonies are described blow by blow and so is a tame South American revolution.
The hero is a man who finds he can make enough money from his fleet of brothel boats to do things like send his laundry to Paris. His private life is made up of various episodic attachments which end with phrases like “she walked slowly away” or “I knew it was farewell”; and there is a lot of jolliness about champagne and making love to one's wife in a broom cupboard. A thin layer of great thoughts is spread over all this. It's rather hard to disengage their meaning from Zulfikar Ghose's windbagging style which involves...
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SOURCE: Siddiqi, Bilqis. Review of The Beautiful Empire, by Zulfikar Ghose. World Literature Today 51, no. 1 (winter 1977): 159.
[In the following review, Siddiqi praises Ghose's ironic prose in The Beautiful Empire.]
The Beautiful Empire is a checkered history of Gregorio Peixoto da Silva Xavier's life during the rubber boom in nineteenth-century Brazil. Son of a Brazilian father and English mother, he fights for Brazil, visits his widowed father in England after the war and returns to become fabulously rich as a rubber magnate, but chiefly as an owner of luxurious floating brothels. Times change, the Amazon loses its rubber monopoly, Gregorio's beloved wife dies, and he travels south to recover from shock. He is taken for a god at one place and for the reincarnation of a long-deceased national hero at another. He is also involved in a revolution before he returns to Manaos. He is about to leave for England when he is arrested for treason—a crime, ironically, committed during the war more than fifty years earlier.
The novel is also the story of the utterly selfish and depraved world of the affluent European rubber merchants who ruthlessly exploit the natives by virtually killing them with labor at starvation wages. They treacherously wipe out the Indian settlements and publicly rape the little Indian girls for amusement. This glittering but rotten world collapses as...
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SOURCE: Glastonbury, Marion. “Plain Terms.” New Statesman 104, no. 2686 (10 September 1982): 24.
[In the following excerpt, Glastonbury remarks that Ghose's style in A New History of Torments is trite and that his outlandish and repetitive use of symbolism is wearisome.]
The travels of Zulfikar Ghose, encompassing education in British India, a literary and journalistic career in England, and an associate professorship at the University of Texas, have also brought him to the Amazon Basin where A New History of Torments is set. This exotic version of the pastoral mode contains several wayfaring strangers who are welcomed by chance to sumptuous palaces in various parts of the forest. But, close by, native savagery re-asserts itself; fraud and dysentery are rife; adventurers fall prey to cannibals, and luscious ladies become vengeful harpies, two of whom the hero is obliged to strangle post-coitally.
The trouble with a fairy tale for the machine age is that, once you update archetypal motifs, bathos threatens. The orphaned heir, robbed of his patrimony by a wicked uncle, is sent into exile to swot for entrance to LSE. The coincidences of the plot depend on a series of technical hitches—gremlins ex machina—that suggest singular ineptitude and naiveté on the part of the worldly wise and fabulously rich. The symbolic role of the golden coach is taken by a Lincoln...
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SOURCE: Review of Hamlet, Prufrock, and Language and Hulme's Investigations into the Bogart Script, by Zulfikar Ghose. Review of Contemporary Fiction 3, no. 3 (1983): 224-26.
[In the following review, the commentator examines Ghose's distinctive use of narration, style, and grammar in Hamlet, Prufrock and Language and Hulme's Investigations into the Bogart Script, suggesting that Ghose's experimentation with literary form and function is an exercise toward refining his signature style.]
Man knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colours of an autumn forest. … Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semi-tones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce, out of his own insides, noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies of desire.
—G. K. Chesterton
It is paradoxical and provocative that poets and philosophers, individuals who live by the word, should be the ones most likely to doubt the adequacy of language ever to express completely or satisfactorily what must be conveyed. Such doubt, one might surmise, would lead inevitably to silence....
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SOURCE: Hashmi, Alamgir. Review of A New History of Torments, by Zulfikar Ghose. World Literature Today 58, no. 1 (winter 1984): 167-68.
[In the following review, Hashmi focuses on the symbolic elements in A New History of Torments and praises Ghose's imaginative poetic prose.]
Extracting elaborate narratives out of cunning riddles is a “fabulous” device. Zulfikar Ghose states that the title of the novel A New History of Torments was suggested by a poem by Pablo Neruda and that the titles of the two sections into which the novel is divided “are the two phrases in the penultimate line” in another poem by Neruda. These two section titles, “The Sealed Light” and “The Dead Labyrinth,” are reechoed by short verse quotations from T. S. Eliot and César Vallejo.
Set in contemporary South America, the novel exploits the resources of the story in multiple directions to elicit from the land a meaning for those who inhabit it. The quest for the Golden Fleece takes on exciting new forms as a Lincoln Continental is crushed and remade into a golden sheep by an artist and placed as a piece of sculpture on a man-made island; the gold of the golden sheep becomes available for a revolutionary plot, and Madeleine and Jason find at the end of their journeys that the place on the sixteenth-century map which they have been looking for is the one they already possess. A...
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SOURCE: Ghose, Zulfikar, and Chelva Kanaganayakam. “Zulfikar Ghose: An Interview.” Twentieth Century Literature 32, no. 2 (summer 1986): 169-86.
[In the following interview conducted on August 14, 1984, Ghose describes the reasons for writing each of his novels, discusses authors and works that have influenced his writing, explains the evolution of his style, and critiques his poetic endeavors.]
Despite two decades of sustained literary activity, Zulfikar Ghose continues to remain relatively unknown in academic circles, hardly discussed in literary journals, and only tenuously linked to Commonwealth, British, and American writing. His refusal to be circumscribed by national boundaries and “ethnic flavor,” his willingness to experiment with new modes, and his propensity to create antireferential and “difficult” works may partly explain his consignment to that area of gray where neither the student nor the literary critic wishes to wander. Neither mediocre nor an obscurantist, Ghose has at least three major claims to recognition: firstly, his writings, despite their differences in narrative mode and style, possess a remarkable unity; secondly, his works reveal a complexity of texture and depth of imagination which make him a contemporary writer worthy of serious attention; thirdly, the patterns of quest he demonstrates through his fiction could offer in the future the possibility of a new...
(The entire section is 7038 words.)
SOURCE: Rubin, Merle. “Artifice below a Mask of Wonder.” Los Angeles Times Book Review (26 August 1984): 4.
[In the following review, Rubin analyzes the intricate mixture of realism and fantasy in Ghose's Don Bueno.]
Why should a Pakistani-born British poet, a novelist who lives in the United States and teaches at the University of Texas, write novels set in South America? Zulfikar Ghose's ninth novel, Don Bueno, travels a spectrum of South American landscapes, from steamy jungles of the interior to the Atlantic and Pacific seacoasts and the crystalline heights of the Andes.
More than a colorful background for adventure stories, however, South America is also the home of a distinct literary tradition that some writers and critics consider more vibrant these days than its North American counterpart. Ghose's penchant for setting his novels in Latin American reflects his interest in a certain style of storytelling—sharply allegorical, yet lushly fabulous, conscious of its own artifice beneath a mask of naive wonderment.
Don Bueno is deliberately “Latin” in the fatalism of its story: a cyclic tale of a man, abandoned in infancy by his father, who grows up to kill his father (unknowingly) and abandon his own infant son, who, in turn, grows up to kill him (again unknowingly) while leaving behind an abandoned infant son.
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SOURCE: Harris, Wilson. “A Note on Zulfikar Ghose's ‘Nature Strategies.’” Review of Contemporary Fiction 9, no. 2 (summer 1989): 172-78.
[In the following essay, Harris analyzes Ghose's poems and studies his use of nature as a metaphor for his inner turmoil and displacement.]
I attempted an analysis of Zulfikar Ghose's poems in The Womb of Space1 by assessing their bearing on the paradoxes of a new nature poetry whose roots (I am tempted to say “alien roots”) lie within the social and symbolical ramparts of our civilization. I would now like to return to this issue and to extend the parameters of sensation in the body of such a discussion. Before I come to Ghose's verse it may help us if we turn aside for a while to glance at a tapestry of association implicit in the work of a few other poets from different environments and cultures.
To what extent are W. B. Yeats, St.-John Perse, and Aimé Césaire involved in subtle, startling and peculiar perspectives of language that bear on a seed of hope within a perverse garden or world? Does such a seed dislodge in some degree the sophisticated logic of silence that polarizes cultures whose premises are affluence, on one hand, and want or hunger or disease on the other?
May I pause and make as clear as I can what I mean by “silence.” When I spoke of “silence” a moment ago I was referring to...
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SOURCE: Rahman, Tariq. “Zulfikar Ghose and the Land of His Birth.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 9, no. 2 (summer 1989): 179-87.
[In the following essay, Rahman examines the importance of Ghose's writing to Pakistani and Indian literature in English, paying special attention to Ghose's poetry and his novel The Murder of Aziz Khan.]
In an interview in 1984, Zulfikar Ghose remarked: “I have not been back to India or Pakistan for twenty-three years. Neither country has given me the slightest recognition. But this has nothing to do with writing.”1 Yet, Ghose's relationship with the subcontinent has had a profound influence on his work. In fact the most important themes of Ghose, the consciousness of being deracinated and alienated from both Western and Indian society, are directly connected with the fact that he migrated to Bombay from his native Sialkot (which is now in Pakistan) in 1942 and from there to England in 1952.
Ghose's consciousness of being in exile is expressed in the title of his autobiography, Confessions of a Native-Alien (1965). In an earlier article I have interpreted the main concerns of Ghose's fiction in relation to this feeling.2 In the interview mentioned above, Kanaganayakam makes three important points about this aspect of Ghose's relationship with the subcontinent. First, that Ghose's consciousness of exile produced “a need...
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SOURCE: Campbell, Ewing. “Encountering the Other in The Fiction of Reality.” Review of Contemporary Fiction 9, no. 2 (summer 1989): 220-24.
[In the following review, Campbell asserts that The Fiction of Reality is not a piece of criticism, but is, in fact, a novel. Campbell uses other examples from literature to prove that Ghose's experimentation with reality and language forms a basis for fiction of the word.]
As I understand criticism it is, like philosophy and history, a kind of novel for the use of discreet and curious minds.
—Anatole France, The Literary Life
Unprimed by theory or tradition, unsupported by authority, ungoverned by regular ordinances, one must abandon habits and begin alone when addressing Zulfikar Ghose's Fiction of Reality. So where better to begin than with the title? The word fiction in its etymological sense means, not ungenuine, but the act of fashioning, from fictus, past participle of fingere, to shape; and a close look at the object of Ghose's attention—the writer's language—and at his own use of language reveals that this deeper, older, and truer meaning of the word is precisely the subject—that is, the shaping of reality through and by language. Ghose would agree with Pascal that meanings receive their dignity from words. They...
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SOURCE: Hashmi, Alamgir. “‘A Stylized Motif of Eagle Wings Woven’: The Selected Poems of Zulfikar Ghose.” World Literature Today 66, no. 1 (winter 1992): 66-69.
[In the following review, Hashmi traces the themes of displacement and exile in Ghose's poetry from his earliest works to his previously unpublished and newer poems collected in Selected Poems.]
Born in Sialkot in 1935, Zulfikar Ghose moved with his family to Bombay in 1942 and to England following the Partition. His first book of poems appeared in London in 1964, and he became well known as a poet from Pakistan. In quick succession came short stories, novels, and an autobiography, as well as journalism and other writings. By the time he left England for the United States in 1969, he was already a writer to reckon with in several genres.
Although during the last twenty-five years his fiction list has come to dominate the publishers' charts and the reviewers' prime slots, he remains a writer who has practiced poetry consistently since the late 1950s, when his early poems began to be published in British magazines. Ever since, his poems have appeared regularly in magazines, anthologies, textbooks, broadcasts, and individual collections. Over the years Pakistani magazines and anthologies have also carried some of his work, though hardly any of his books has been issued in Pakistan as yet. The Selected Poems therefore...
(The entire section is 3142 words.)
SOURCE: Hussein, Aamer. “In Various Incarnations.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4642 (20 March 1992): 20.
[In the following review, Hussein provides a brief synopsis of The Triple Mirror of the Self, noting that Ghose's experiments with style and theme are difficult to follow in the beginning of the novel but become integral to the story as the novel progresses.]
A cryptic document recovered from the Brazilian rainforest, ostensibly the memoir of a refugee from the urban wildernesses of Asia, Europe and North America, is handed by “the leading Latin American Realist” to Jonathan Pons, an academic in search of a subject. On discovering himself—in a place he has never visited—in this text, Pons identifies its author, who has renamed himself Urim, as a former colleague, an expatriate South Asian poet. Driven by curiosity and the promise of a research grant, Pons undertakes to complete the fragmented text and reconstruct the life of the enigmatic figure who is known in his various incarnations as Shimomura (in cynical deference to his Asian origins), Shimmers (the English version of his name, which gives rise to its Japanese-sounding substitute) and Roshan, the name with which he departed from his origins.
Each incarnation coincides with a panel of The Triple Mirror of the Self. “The misleading pages of the Sakhawat document” (which, were it not for his own...
(The entire section is 697 words.)
SOURCE: Dasenbrock, Reed Way. Review of The Triple Mirror of the Self, by Zulfikar Ghose. World Literature Today 66, no. 4 (autumn 1992): 785-86.
[In the following review, Dasenbrock comments that The Triple Mirror of the Self is more autobiographical and candid than Ghose's previous novels, noting that although the novel lacks unity, aspects of the book are unique and enthralling.]
Zulfikar Ghose, a British writer born in Pakistan, raised in India and now long resident in Texas (see WLT 66:1, pp. 66-69 and 71-72), is one of the most unusual writers in English today. The dominant setting of his fiction over the past twenty years has been none of the places where he has resided, but rather South America, a South America largely of his own imagination, in which the realism of Anglo-American novelists is suspended by geography, culture, and history in fascinating and unpredictable ways. The South American setting of his fiction has attracted readers, yet I suspect it has played a part in that fiction's not receiving the degree of serious attention it deserves, as it is intuitively felt that Ghose's outsider status in Latin America makes his work set there less “authentic” than it might be and than the work of Latin American novelists. This view, of course, derives its power from the notion that fiction represents real places and real social situations and derives its value from that...
(The entire section is 631 words.)
SOURCE: Kanaganayakam, Chelva. “Memory and Artifice in Poetry.” In Structures of Negation: The Writings of Zulfikar Ghose, pp. 10-32. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
[In the following excerpt, Kanaganayakam studies the changes in content, tone, style, and form in Ghose's poetry from his earlier poems to more recent endeavors. Kanaganayakam notes Ghose's growing sense of displacement and makes a distinction between changes in Ghose's poetry and changes in his fiction.]
Zulfikar Ghose began his literary career as a poet with the publication of his first collection of poems, The Loss of India, in 1964 (hereinafter cited as Loss); his fifth and most recent collection of poems, entitled Selected Poems, appeared in 1991 (hereinafter cited as SP).1 The latter, like his previous collection, A Memory of Asia (1984), contains previously uncollected poems and a selection from his earlier writings. Granted the provisionality of neat classifications, one could still assert that, taken together, his five volumes, including Jets from Orange (1967) and The Violent West (1972), reflect the changing phases in the author's poetic career, the movement from an autobiographical, didactic, referential, and traditional verse to a personal but more discontinuous, open, and contemporary poetry. They depict a movement away from an active engagement with...
(The entire section is 9327 words.)
SOURCE: Kanaganayakam, Chelva. “Going Home: Figures of Enchantment and The Triple Mirror of the Self.” In Structures of Negation: The Writings of Zulfikar Ghose, pp. 158-76. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
[In the following excerpt, Kanaganayakam examines Figures of Enchantment and The Triple Mirror of the Self in terms of Ghose's feelings of diaspora, noting that Ghose's writing at this point addresses the lack of a homeland and that his writing style reflects an attempt to recreate a “home” environment, with all its contradictory elements.]
Zulfikar Ghose's ongoing preoccupation with the thematics of exile and native-alien experience, the ambiguities that underline the relation between text and reality, and the problematic status of language as a vehicle for consciousness becomes increasingly evident in his next novel, Figures of Enchantment. A moment that comes to mind is the first meeting between Popayan, the magician and at times the novelist-surrogate in the novel, and Federico, the ill-fated exile, condemned to pursue an always compulsive and inevitably futile quest for a satisfying vision of permanence. As Federico stands outside Popayan's shop and wonders if the latter's magic would reverse the circumstances that torment him, Popayan, from inside, appraises the boy:
Popayan had seen the boy earlier,...
(The entire section is 8117 words.)
SOURCE: Gaur, June. “Beyond Personal History: Zulfikar Ghose's Confessions of a Native-Alien.” Literary Criterion 31, nos. 1-2 (1996): 63-70.
[In the following review of Ghose's autobiography, Confessions of a Native-Alien, Gaur draws parallels between Ghose's feelings of displacement and alienation and the diaspora of people from lands that were once part of India, as well as Indian nationals who live abroad.]
My first strategy was to be excused the trial: I wasn't a voluntary participant and why, I asked, should I imperil my existence. …
It was worse than making a fool of oneself in a quiz game on T.V. For which the prize was a microwave oven. …
(From “The Counter-Riddle” by Zulfikar Ghose)
Almost anybody who has had the temerity to talk about a book in the presence of its author, will appreciate what is like to be in such a situation. Zulfikar Ghose himself was somewhat apologetic—“Lord, how pretentious I was!”—about his autobiography written 35 years ago when he was only twenty-six. “Why on earth would anyone want to read Confessions of a Native-Alien today?” he asked.
“Confessions” has a religious connotation that goes back to St. Augustine and the genre invented by him. When Rousseau wrote his...
(The entire section is 2611 words.)
Kanaganayakam, Chelva. “Bibliography.” In Structures of Negation: The Writings of Zulfikar Ghose, pp. 197-221. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
Comprehensive bibliography of Ghose's writings, both of his major works and of his writings published in various periodicals and collections.
Bate, Jonathan. “Love Locked Out.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4734 (24 December 1993): 3-4.
Provides an overview of current Shakespearean criticism, including a negative assessment of Ghose's Shakespeare's Mortal Knowledge.
Bradbury, Malcolm. “The Bridgeable Gap.” Times Literary Supplement, no. 4633 (17 January 1992): 7-9.
Studies four recent manuals about the art of writing including Ghose's The Art of Creating Fiction, which he finds flawed yet thought-provoking.
Hashmi, Alamgir. Review of Figures of Enchantment, by Zulfikar Ghose. World Literature Today 62, no. 1 (winter 1988): 184.
Offers a favorable review of Figures of Enchantment, providing a brief overview of plot and themes and noting the similarities between the novel and Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Kanaganayakam, Chelva. “Caliban in the Andes: Figures of Enchantment as Post-Colonial...
(The entire section is 296 words.)