Paperback review: At the Time of Partition, By Moniza Alvi

 

Alvi, a former TS Eliot and Whitbread poetry prizes shortlistee, takes a historical journey as the structure for this narrative poem.

The year is 1947 – the year of Partition – and a family is forced to leave their home in Ludhiana for Lahore. It begins with a bus journey, taken in an impressionistic haze of fear and brutality as men and women are butchered in the crossing. Alvi captures the trauma of a nation in this slim, exquisitely mournful story of departure, migration and the uncertain feelings of settling in a new country: “It will take time./Of course, of course.

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