The World With Its Mouth Open

Zahid Rafiq

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.