“This House of Clay and Water” is Faiqa Mansab’s debut novel, which was published by Publisher: Penguin Random House India (22 May 2017). According to the website of Penguin India, Faiqa Mansab completed her MFA in creative writing with a distinction and an award for the best thesis. Her novel This House of Clay and Water is the final version of her MFA thesis.
Faiqa Mansab’s official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/faiqamansabauthorofficial/
While in conversation with Tehmina Qureshi and with the audience in attendance at her debut novel, Faiqa Mansab revealed how she saw a different Karachi now to the one she experienced almost fifteen years ago. However, where her novel revolves around the lanes, sights, and sounds of Lahore, she was pleased to be back in the city by the sea where she lived some part of her early life. She was talking to avid and curious readers at the launch of her debut novel, “This House of Clay and Water” on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at Liberty Books, Boat Basin, Clifton, Karachi.
Faiqa Mansab discussed her love with Lahore and the reason for her to incorporate this historic city in her debut novel. To an extent, she did face the writer’s block, but it did not hamper in her creative process for she always attunes herself to what she has to write. However, interestingly, as it is necessary for any writer, she did edit the book many times, in fact, multiple times. She said that every time she edited, she began from the first page. This kept her at par with her thoughts and enabled her to find any loopholes, mistakes, or errors in the manuscript. I believe this should be an inspirational message for all promising and aspiring writers and authors that there are no shortcuts in writing and editing. To develop an amazing manuscript and to produce a fictional piece, one must and should edit the manuscript as thoroughly as possible, even if means re-reading the editing all pages of the manuscript no matter how many they may be.
When commenting on the story of her book, Faiqa said that out of the main three characters namely: Nida, Sasha and Bhanggi, she fell in love with Bhanggi. Later, when she read an excerpt of her book related to Bhanggi, it felt she personified this character, a eunuch, in her mind to such an extent that every word she read felt coming out of Bhanggi’s mouth. I personally told her while she was signing the book, that she used the concept of ‘show, don’t tell’ at its best for I felt Bhanggi was sitting in front of me sharing his thoughts. I had similar feelings when she read two other excerpts from her book
I began reading the book from the very next of the book launch. Believe me, I completed 57 pages in one sitting. The story is captivating from the first word. While each chapter discusses the life of one character, the story progression becomes so interesting that you have to know what happens next, which keeps your curiosity at its peak. In each chapter, you get to know the life and thoughts of all of Faiqa’s main characters. Nida, Shasha, and Bhanggi are on my mind these days as I am contemplating their future actions even as I was writing this blog. Moreover, I am also pleased to see Faiqa Mansab coming up with a Pakistani-centric story that deals with themes of love and friendship and focuses on the lives of two females and a eunuch in a patriarchal society. This House of Clay and Water is a must read book – it will take you on a ride in the lanes of Lahore while embarking you on a journey that transcends mindsets, class splits, genders, and cultures.