The World With Its Mouth Open

Stories

ISBN:
9781959030850
Pub Date:
12/03/2024
List Price:
$17.95
Page Count:
192
ISBN:
9781959030928
Pub Date:
12/03/2024
List Price:
$17.95
Page Count:
192

“An utterly exquisite debut.”—Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves

In eleven stories, The World With Its Mouth Open follows the inner lives of people in Kashmir as they walk the uncertain terrain of their days, fractured from years of war. From a shopkeeper’s encounter with a mannequin, to an expectant mother walking on a precarious road, to a young boy wavering between dreams and reality, to two dogs wandering the city, these stories weave in larger, devastating themes of loss, grief, violence, longing, and injustice with the threads of smaller, everyday realities that confront the characters’ lives in profound ways. Although the stories circle the darker aspects of life, they are—at the same time—an attempt to run into life, into humor, into beauty, into another person who can offer refuge, if momentarily.

Zahid Rafiq’s The World With Its Mouth Open is an original and powerful debut collection announcing the arrival of a new voice that bears witness to the human condition with nuance, heart, humor, and incredible insight.

Praise

  • “An utterly exquisite debut.”

    —Emily Fridlund, History of Wolves

  • The World With Its Mouth Open is a brilliant debut collection, both restrained and revelatory. In eleven meticulously crafted stories, Zahid Rafiq details the human mechanics of modern-day Kashmiri life. There is so much of the world here, rendered in small intimate moments of grief, violence, humor, and wanting, every sentence taut as a tendon. Rafiq is a writer of considerable talent, and this collection marks the beginning of what will be a marvelous literary career.

    —Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise

  • “Tenderly and exquisitely rendered, these eleven powerful stories track everyday lives, Rafiq reminds us that Kashmir is not a news item, but a home to real people, a place thrumming with life. There is instability and violence, but amidst this shopkeepers still negotiate with good humor, children play, the elderly count their final days, women contend with societal pressures, and families simply try to survive. A powerful debut by a talented writer.”

    —Sindya Bhanoo, author of Seeking Fortune Elsewhere

  • “A shopkeeper, a daydreaming boy, and an anxious expecting mother are but a few of the characters that inhabit the world of Zahid Rafiq’s moving and lyrical short stories. Rafiq’s empathic sharpness is in revealing the heart’s truth of what it is like to live in terrible times and still struggle against inhumanity. Reading each story, my heart pumps and I recognize myself.”

    —Helena María Viramontes, author of Their Dogs Came With Them