• The Weary Generations

Published before Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet and long anticipating Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Abdullah Hussein’s ambitious saga of social struggle The Weary Generations was an award-winning and best-selling novel in its original Urdu language and is a classic in translation.

Beginning with the struggle of the people of India against the British Raj, this story of love and marriage between two people of totally different social backgrounds which crumbles almost as soon as as it takes place mirrors the uneasy ‘marriage’ between the British and their Indian Empire – both unions ultimately ending in a parting of ways. Naim, son of a peasant, marries Azra, the daughter of a rich landowner. Fighting for the British during the First World War he loses an arm. Invalided home, he becomes angered at the subjugation of his countrymen under the Raj and aligns himself with the opposition. His ideals are swept away after Independence in 1947 when he realizes that, as Muslims, his family is no longer safe in their Indian home and that they must migrate to the newly created Pakistan.

Translated from the Urdu by the author

‘This powerful, subtle novel is packed with explosions of violence … The novel’s meaning, and what makes it as fresh now as it must have been 36 years ago, lies in the complex intransigence of its protagonist and his inability to settle in to any role. History itself provides a svagely unsettling and still unsettled ending.’ – Sunday Times
‘Hussein is a wonderful storyteller … the narrative moves at an exciting pace … the novel is a grim reminder that little has changed in the Indian sub-continent: tyranny continues to prevail and Naim’s sturggle is repeated, generation after generation, by the weary generations, by the inheritors of British India’s troubled legacy.' – Literary Review

‘A very powerful, enthralling and informative novel … But what is especially fascinating about it is that it offers as it were, a missing piece of the jigsaw. It’s an Indian eyeview of the Raj , of the struggle for independence, all the horrors of partition – written in fiction that is very very naturalistic, completely different from the post-colonial style, the magic realism that Salman Rushdie patented and very many Indian writers now imitate … In this novel you see things from the inside … Hussein’s style is much more humane, much more direct.’ – Peter Kemp (Sunday Times), Front Row, BBC Radio 4




ABDULLAH HUSSEIN was born in 1931 and became famous for his novel Udass Naslain which he later translated from the Urdu into English as The Weary Generations. This debut novel touched on universal themes of love and separation within the context of Partition and war. The novel won the highly prestigious Adamjee Award. Hussein died on 4th July 2015.
Bibliographic Data
Date Published 1st June 2003
ISBN Number 9780720611878
Pages 334

The Weary Generations

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Tags: Sub-Continent, Politics, War, India, Pakistan, Salman Rushdie, Kiran Desai, urdu, Abdullah Hussein, Hussein