Falling Walls, by Upendranath Ashk (Penguin India, 2015)

Falling Walls



A young man from Jalandhar longs to become a writer but fails at every turn. Upendranath Ashk’s 1947 novel explores in great detail the trials and tribulations of Chetan. From the back galis of Lahore and Jalandhar to Shimla’s Scandal Point, Falling Walls offers a rich and intimate portrait of lower-middle-class life in the 1930s and the hurdles an aspiring writer must overcome to fulfil his ambitions.”


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Jai Arjun Singh for Open Magazine: “Falling Walls – completed by Daisy Rockwell 20 years after she began it – is not just one of the year’s publishing events, it is a terrific, deeply engrossing read too.”

Nilanjana Roy for Business Standard: “Daisy Rockwell’s translation is superb, because it is so unobtrusive. The flavour of Ashk’s Hindi comes through behind the form of the English words, setting this classic free to reach an even larger audience than before.”

Asif Farrukhi, for Dawn: “I have always wondered why this magnificent novel has been overlooked by readers and critics who complain about the paucity of good novels, but whichever language you read it in, Girti Deewarain will not fail to impress. It is as if an entire microcosm of old town lanes, teeming with people of all kinds suddenly comes alive.”

Rakhshanda Jalil for The Wire: “Despite all its minutiae of time and circumstance, all the explicit details one young man’s life, his trials and tribulations, his intellectual and sexual urges, his marriage to a dowdy young woman he doesn’t especially care for somewhere, Falling Walls somehow becomes compelling reading simply because it transcends the personal and particular. In its slow unfurling of a mind looking to expand its horizon, in its insistent exploration of the darkest recesses of the human heart it no longer remains just the story of one young man.”

Chandrahas Chowdhury for Livemint: “Ashk is one of the realist Hindi novel’s holy trinity alongside Munshi Premchand and Yashpal. This series was his great novelistic project: the story of five years in the life of a highly sensitive young man that he hoped would also become a portrait of the age.”


Hats and Doctors, Stories by Upendranath Ashk (Penguin India, 2013)




Hats and Doctors offers English readers the opportunity to savour, for the first time, the work of Upendranath Ashk, one of Hindi literature’s best-known and most controversial authors. The stories in this collection often display a wry sense of humour, such as ‘The Dal Eaters’ in which a family of cheapskates journeys to Kashmir. While Ashk’s satirical eye is employed to great effect in ‘The Cartoon Hero’, where a hapless traveller encounters a petty politician on a train, his talent for capturing human frailties is amply evident in ‘Furlough’ and ‘In the Insane Asylum’—two thought-provoking stories that later became part of his  novel Girti Divarein. And finally, stories such as ‘Mr Ghatpande’ and ‘Hats and Doctors’ give the reader a glimpse of some of Ashk’s primary personal preoccupations: his health and his hats. Exhibiting a lightness of touch and a deep engagement with the human condition, these stories come alive in Daisy Rockwell’s delightful translation.

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Short Story Translations:

Upendranath Ashk

“The Soaking of Sardar Jagdish Singh,” By Upendranath Ashk (Papercuts Magazine)

Furlough“, by Upendranath Ashk (in Pratilipi)

Hats and Doctors”, by Upendranath Ashk (in Caravan)

The Bed“, by Upendranath Ashk (in Spolia Mag)


Arun Prakash

“Thus, the Tale of Miss Tapna,” by Arun Prakash (in Out of Print Magazine)


Shrilal Shukla

Among the Hunters,” by Shrilal Shukla (in Out of Print)

Interview with a Defeated Leader,” by Shrilal Shukla (in Outlook)