Fiction. Middle Eastern Studies. Whither the Islamic world? Whither Pakistan? Revolution is on the streets of the Arab/Islamic world, Pakistan is experiencing a remote drone war and violence fomented by mysterious forces, and writing has apparently thrown up its hands at making sense of the chaos.Ten years after the start of the perpetual war on terror, Pakistan, the country at the fulcrum of it, remains a mystery. All we hear about are lawlessness and violence, without social history or political context to fill out the picture. THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES gives us a portrait of Pakistan, and Muslims in general, struggling to reason their way into a better future. Paranoia, self-hatred, delusion, insecurity, serfdom, surveillance, and denial have been some of the prevalent psychological motifs of the last decade; it's important to step outside their journalistic confines and move into the lyrical borderline where responsibility follows a two-way street and causes and consequences become muddled and merged, and this is what the book seeks to do.The old securities everywhere are gone; identities are switched and tried on and abandoned faster than ever; the media landscape saturates individual consciousness, and makes lies out of centuries of tradition and heroes of plastic idols. THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES daringly enters this phantasmagoric cauldron, where appearance and reality have seamlessly blended, to complicate the picture even further, to turn all we think we know about Islam and Pakistan on its head. The "truth" will never set you free, is the ironic signature of the original voice defining this collection.
Lydia Pyne @ NewPagesauthor sitePublishers Weekly
Anis Shivani is the author of several critically acclaimed books of fiction, poetry, and criticism, including ANATOLIA AND OTHER STORIES (NYQ Books, 2009), Against the Workshop: Provocations, Polemics, Controversies (2011), THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES (C&R Press, 2012), MY TRANQUIL WAR AND OTHER POEMS (NYQ Books,2012), and Karachi Raj: A Novel (2015). Both ANATOLIA AND OTHER STORIES and THE FIFTH LASH AND OTHER STORIES were longlisted for the Frank O'Connor international short story award. Forthcoming books include Soraya: Sonnets and Literature in an Age of Globalization. Books in progress or recently finished include Death is a Festival: Poems, Plastic Realism: Neoliberalism in Recent American Fiction, and the novels A History of the Cat in Nine Chapters or Less, Abruzzi, 1936, and An Idiot's Guide to America. Anis's work appears in the Yale Review, Georgia Review, Boston Review, Iowa Review, Threepenny Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Antioch Review, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Fence, Epoch, Boulevard, Pleiades, Denver Quarterly, Verse, Colorado Review, Quarterly West, New Letters, Subtropics, Times Literary Supplement, London Magazine, Meanjin, Fiddlehead, and other leading literary journals. Anis is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, and his reviews appear widely in newspapers and magazines such as the Huffington Post, Daily Beast, In These Times, Texas Observer, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Kansas City Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, St. Petersburg Times, Charlotte Observer, and many other outlets. Anis is the winner of Author City: HOUSTON, TX USA