For the past two months, Tor.com has serialized the first volume of the Urdu fantasy epic Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism. Now, the first 50 episodes comprising Book 1, translated into English for the first time by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, are fully available for your reading pleasure!
Each episode transports readers to the magical realm of the tilism, an entire world crafted out of an inanimate object, a world with a pre-ordained, limited lifespan. Emperor Afrasiyab and trickster Amar Ayyar face each other again and again, one man defending his home from the man who is destined to unravel it. Along the way are benevolent angels, trickster girls, enchanted artifacts, rivers of blood–all the makings of a fantasy epic.
As Mahvesh Murad wrote in her Under the Radar review of Hoshruba,
Hoshruba is a great tentacled beast of a tale, a powerful, craggy, raging beast that, having ‘consumed whole generations of readers’ has been lying in wait for new souls. It is an old, old god of a story, with elaborate metaphors swirling on its skin, stories within stories of ripping muscle forming the many arms reaching out for you. It’s complicated and it’s massive and it’s not at all something to be read casually.
This beast has been wrangled so that you may try your luck. If you’re curious about where Hoshruba began, Farooqi has shared a history of the epic’s roots in the dastan epic of oral storytelling. Or you can dive right in here.