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Hellfire by [Leesa Gazi, Shabnam Nadiya]

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Hellfire Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Product description

About the Author

Leesa Gazi is a British-Bangladeshi writer, actor, scriptwriter and filmmaker. She’s also the joint artistic director of a London based arts company, Komola Collective. She was the scriptwriter and performer on Six Seasons and A Golden Age at the Southbank Centre, London. Gazi’s recent play Aleya Twist is a Bengali adaptation of the British classic Oliver Twist. It has reimagined Oliver Twist as a young girl. Gazi also wrote, directed and produced several CVE (Counter Violence Extremism) short films for a UK-based Counter-Extremism think tank in 2017 and 2019. Gazi was the concept-developer, co-writer and performer on Birangona: Women of War, nominated for The Offies 2014, which she later developed into the documentary film called Rising Silence, on the lives of rape survivors in the aftermath of the Liberation War of Bangladesh. The film won the Best Documentary Award 2019 at the Dhaka International Film Festival, the 2019 Moondance Winner in the feature documentary category (USA), the Asian Media Award for Best Investigation 2019 (UK), the Award Of Merit 2020 by the Accolade Competition (USA), the Best Documentary Feature and Best Message at the 2020 Top Indie Film Awards (Japan) and the Best Feature—Foreign 2020 at the Queen Palm International Film Festival (USA).

Shabnam Nadiya is a California-based Bangladeshi writer and translator. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she is the recipient of the Schulze Fellowship (2013) at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; the Steinbeck Fellowship at San Jose State University (2019) for her novel- in-progress Unwanted; and a PEN/Heim Translation Grant (2020) for her translated manuscript of Bangladeshi writer Mashiul Alam’s short fiction. Her translation of Mashiul Alam’s story, ‘Milk’, won the 2019 Himal Southasian Short Story Contest.

Nadiya’s published translations include Moinul Ahsan Saber’s novel The Mercenary (Bengal Lights Books, 2016; Seagull Books, 2018) and Shaheen Akhtar’s novel Beloved Rongomala (Bengal Lights Books, 2018).The manuscript of this translation of Leesa Gazi’s debut novel Hellfire was shortlisted for the Käpylä Translation Prize.

Product details

  • ASIN : B08G1J7CLT
  • Publisher : Eka (14 September 2020)
  • Language : English
  • File size : 2625 KB
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Print length : 203 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN : 9389648416
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
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Reviewed in India on 2 October 2020
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Reviewed in India on 26 December 2020
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Reviewed in India on 7 November 2020
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4.0 out of 5 stars a crackling read!
By Chitra Ahanthem on 7 November 2020
Translated from the Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya, Hellfire by LeesaGazi, a British Bangladeshi author is a taut unfolding of events over the course of a few hours in a single day and the suppressed emotions and thoughts of characters that has built up the situation that the characters find themselves in. 
What are the reasons for the matriarch of a family to control the movements of her two daughters who are approaching middle age? Why aren’t there visitors to the house? What happens when one daughter is allowed to spend the day outside on her own? These threads are tied in tangled knots, woven in intricate patterns by the author who skilfully makes the reader turn the pages with her vivid writing and descriptions of the mood in the air. Placed for the most part in a house that is claustrophobic in more ways than one (the physical structure, the repressed emotions and ties between family members) the narrative gives some air to readers and characters with an interplay of plot points: memories of visits to the house by a relative and the rare jaunts outside the home.
This for me is not just a story of a family and the ties that are entangled but a powerful narrative that explores the way in which social appearances and personal decisions carved in stone can lead to devastating consequences, that toxic relationships can only end in abuse. The manner in which the author hints towards certain positions and reasons without explicitly telling it so is a delight that readers who pick this book will relish. Will definitely recommend this for readers who love to be taken along by the flow of the writing and the plot unraveling.
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Reviewed in India on 14 October 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars What is the wound of a daughter?
By Sahil Pradhan on 14 October 2020
Leesa Gazi's sensitive novel is ought to be read by every thinking Indian, affianced, married or separated. It shows, with exceptional fictional skill, the subtle and everyday way in which men and women are bludgeoned to play scripted subordinate roles. Gazi displays a control of the medium, a sophistication that would be the envy of any contemporary writer. Her diction is pointed and the textures communicated exquisite. In terms of technique, her writing is masterful, she cannot write of an experience but will animate it with sharp and vivid life. There is not a single flat sentence in the book. Gazi has a gifted pen that’s able to dip itself into a trove of refined observations of life and all the pain and plunder it can inflict on the unsuspecting wanderer.

It is not just the story of the sisters, Lovely and Beauty, who have a very oddly unflattering life, it is also of their mother, Farida Khanam, of the decisions she made to maintain her family, of the choices she took and the sacrifices she gave to be the matriarch of the household. It is also a story of her failure, of the collateral damage she made out of her sense of being in power. It is also about the men in the household, the poor father who has no voice no matter what happens in the house and is reduced to just a cash spitting machine, it is also of Riaz, the man who dared enough to love one of the daughters inside the deadly stare of Farida. Oddly enough the whole book, a bunch of 196 pages talk of events and it's trepidations that take place in a single day. Yet, there is not even a single time you feel the story is rushed or incomplete, it is complete and bedecked with gems of literary tools in every sense of the word.

There is an intense amount of thrill throughout the tale, you always expect questions to pop up, there is sensuality too, acts of sensual desire born out of immense want, yet through it all is a literary sense, a beauty of words, a play of sentences. The intense action throughout the tale culminates in an explosive finale that will leave a chill in the heart which will not be easily dispelled.

Gazi has created characters to be embraced despite their difficulties with each other; learned from when they stumble and fall; and celebrated as they picked themselves up again. There is grace and compassion in her writing as emotions spike and subside. Life-changing disappointments are tempered with kindness, and at no time does the author chastise a character for her imperfections. The best storytellers always keep you coming back. They have their unique signatures, a unique voice, that enchants the reader and draws them back to listen to one story, then the next and then the one after that. Gazi is one such masterful storysmith. I am done with reading Hellfire for now, but I keep thinking about the characters, and I know that a rereading is in store for the future.

Hellfire tells a shattered story, magnificently, without ever trying to make it whole. The scope of the book, its peerless prose, and unique, formal inventiveness make this novel new, in the original meaning of the novel. A work of extraordinary intricacy and grace. A rangy and roving novel of multiple voices; an intimate picture of a diverse cast of characters. We see in detail not only their everyday lives but also their beliefs, and the contexts that inform their actions.
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