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LAHORE: A book titled ‘The House of Clay and Water’ by Faiqa Mansab was launched at the The Last World Bookshop on Thursday.

A good number of audience attended the book launch, met the writer and got signed the book. The book has a gorgeous cover. The writer, on how she wrote her debut novel, said the book was the product of her two years relentless work in England where she was doing her MFA.

The book is full of spiritual elements. Ms Mansab said that most of her family was spiritual, especially her mother, who would visit shrines in Lahore. She said that’s why the reader would find different tones and hues of shrines in the book such as Hazrat Mian Mir, Data Ganj Baksh, Madhu Lal Hussain and Shah Jamal.

The writer said she actually started thinking to write the book when she did research on transgender. The point in the mind was that one does not meet transgender as an equal. This very thought brought out the character of Bhanggi. In conversation with moderator Maria, the writer said another character Sasha was a liberating character.

She said as a writer she did not bother what would people say about her writings and the issues she had discussed in the book because there should not be an inherent judgment about women. About the title of the book, she said that earlier she wanted to give the title to the book, Qalandar, but later she opted for ‘The House of Clay and Water’ which was from the verses of Rumi.

The writer also discussed characters Nida, Sasha, Bhanggi and Zoya at length. The book is well rooted in Lahore and its places, festivals, celebrations, people and lifestyle. “While writing the book, I initially crafted the story and followed the characters of the story I developed and lived with them for months,” she said.

About the definition of spiritualism, the writer said she believed that everyone had its own journey. She said she was happy about the fact that Penguin had published her book.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2017