Frances W. Pritchett has taught South Asian literature at Columbia University since 1982. Her books include Nets of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and Its Critics, The Romance Tradition in Urdu: Adventures from the Dastan of Amir Hamzah, and (with Khaliq Ahmad Khaliq) Urdu Meter: A Practical Handbook.
Basti exlores the divided consciousness of Pakistan, a country born of division and suffering from it to this day. Set during the chaos of the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, the novel centers on the meetings and partings and memories and desires of a group of young men who seek to comprehend their country’s disastrous situation. A masterpiece of modern Urdu fiction, Basti fuses modernist montage with stories from Muslim, Hindu, Persian, and Buddhist traditions in a poignant lament for the fallen historical world.