The Begum’s story, her challenge, had taken him by surprise. It had been so very long since somebody had matched him and, truth be told, outstripped him. He hadn’t imagined being bested. What a shocking joy it was to be defeated, to be in love again.
It is the 1700s and the forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali have destroyed the glorious city of Delhi. Abandoned by fate and fortune, a storyteller finds himself at an isolated casbah a day’s ride from the city. When the Begum of the casbah invites him to stay and share a story, he tells her the tale of two brothers, Taka and Wara’s wolf and boy’s tale of love and loyalty, and the hurt, fear and distrust that come when love remains unrecognized.
The Begum is provoked into responding with a story of her own: the tale of Aresh and Barab and a friendship that transcends death. What follows in this many-layered tale is a duel of narratives, each reinforcing something different love, loyalty, friendship, anguish, need, betrayal, sacrifice and loss; each tale drawing the Begum and the storyteller deeper into a forbidden desire; each story transporting the reader to an unforgettable world.
Using evocative prose and exquisite imagery,Omair Ahmad’s The Storyteller’s Tale explores the delicate nature of human relationships, demonstrating that there is always more than one way of looking at life; that no story is ever just that, or ever truly finished.