11th October 2022 – Four Dervishes by Hammad Rind

One monsoon night, a power cut forces a man full of disappointments on to the streets of the town. Sheltering in a cemetery he comes across four others – a grave digger, an aristocrat, an honourable criminal and a messiah – each with a past, and with a story to tell. Crimes have been committed, dark family secrets revealed, fortunes rise and fall, the varieties of love are explored, and new selves are discovered in a rich round of storytelling. And as the Disappointed Man discovers, a new story is about to begin…

Four Dervishes draws on a long tradition of storytelling as it skewers issues like religious bigotry, injustice, the denial of women’s rights, and class division. Lavishly inventive, verbally rich, an exotic confection, this novel is both darkly thematic and humorously playful.

“This novel arrives like the brightest comet, a dazzling work of art full of invention, playfulness and somewhat Chaucerian tale-telling, though this time told by fakirs in a far-off cemetery. Their ornate stories are full of mughals and caliphs, old kings and city black-outs, taking you to villages of sugarcane and to meet performers of dirges and various diverse djinns. This heady, compelling fusion of cultures – East meeting West – complete with oodles of social satire is a remarkable debut, no doubt about that. Imagine Italo Calvino came from Cardiff, was inspired by Indian-Persian poetry to re-conjure magical realism and you’ll just begin to get a sense of it. Easily the most remarkable work of fiction to come out of Wales in a thousand moons.” – Jon Gower

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