When the world was still all new, when the sky was fresh and the earth not yet soiled, when trees breathed through the centuries and ages spoke in the voices of birds, how astonished he was, looking all around, that everything was so new, and yet looked so old. Bluejays, woodpeckers, peacocks, doves, squirrels, parakeets—it seemed that they were as young as he, yet carried the secrets of the ages.
—the beautiful opening of Intizar Husain’s book, Basti. This past weekend the Urdu fiction writer, poet, and journalist celebrated his 90th birthday. Huzzah! In celebration, you should totally read Basti, the only of the Husain’s novels to have been published in English.