A Contemporary Perspective: Conradology
Review of Conradology, a collection of short stories and non-fiction essays inspired by the work of Joseph Conrad. Includes my short story, The Helper of Cattle.
Conradian themes of power and greed characterise Farah Ahamed’s ‘The Helper of Cattle’. Ahamed folds many ideas into this poignant story of corruption, a cursed and silent woman, land and traditions, invasion of foreigners, native beliefs versus modernity. Towards the end of the story one of the character’s says:
The Maasai have a secret … We know when it will rain, when a lion is near, and what kind of a heart a man has.
In her impressively lucid prose, Ahamed crafts essentially a story of a human heart, and the darkness it conceals.
Shortlisted for The Screen Craft Award (USA)
The Salehs, shortlisted for The Screen Craft Award (USA).
The Tyranny of History
In this essay, one of two runners-up in the 2018 Thresholds International Short Fiction Feature Writing Competition, Farah Ahamed examines the shifting nature of political and historical events in satirical short stories by R.K. Narayan and Ivan Vladislavic.
If, one wintry afternoon, you were to find yourself walking in Bloomsbury, and you decided to take a stroll in Tavistock Square, you might see a woman in a black winter coat and red hat standing in front of the monument in the middle of the square. Nothing unusual about that, you might say, except that, if you were to stare long enough you might see her dusting the snow from the statue, removing dead flowers from its neck and replacing them with a fresh garland. If you were to go closer and observe more carefully, you would see her wiping away the cobwebs from the statue’s ears and nostrils, and lighting candles in the hollow base of the pedestal. If you were curious enough to walk around the monument, you would find yourself looking at the sculpture of an emaciated, half-naked old man, seated in a posture of contemplation. Peer at the inscription, and you would discover it is none other than: Mahatma Gandhi.
If by chance you pass through the square on International Women’s Day and see the purple-and-green banner, More Statues of Women, on the railings near the statue of Virginia Woolf, you might ask yourself: after fifty years in the square, should Gandhi be replaced by the statue of a woman who changed history? And if so, what would happen to the monument of him?…