Journalist and poet Khalid Moin was showered with enormous praise on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club where its literary committee hosted the launch of his debut novel ‘Wafoor’.
Moin made the most of the pandemic lockdown by engaging in writing fiction. He has earlier penned poetry collections and prose works, including memoirs and interviews of literary personalities. The pandemic not only provided him the leisure required to produce a novel but also gave the setting of the fiction work for it is a tale of a man and woman — both fiction writers having their own families — who during the pandemic become involved in a romantic relationship with each other due to their psychological issues and unsatisfying relations with their spouses.
Journalist and critic Zeb Azkar Hussain, whom the author credited for many changes in the novel that happened after the first draft, said the novel was not narrated in a linear fashion, which made it challenging. He also pointed out the first person narration in the novel, saying that employing such technique was not something easy.
The relationship between the two protagonists and the question whose character was stronger was discussed intermittently throughout the discussion. Hussain said the male protagonist had been depicted as a multi-layered character. He particularly pointed out the treatment of suicidal tendencies in the male protagonist.
Hussain said many great writers around the world had had suicidal tendencies and some of them even committed suicide. He added that the novelist had explored through the male protagonist what made a creative writer wrestle with the idea of death or even take the step of ending their lives.
Poet Salman Sarwat was of the view that both the characters were equally powerful and none completely dominated the other. He opined that the two protagonists were two sides of each other.
Poet and journalist Javed Saba said he had known Moin for a long time. He conceded that he had not read the novel yet but remarked that even if the novel was drawing criticism from some quarters, it was a good omen that a creative work was being discussed.
The ceremony was presided over by critic Zahid Hussain Jauhari, who said the imaginative prowess of the writer had fully channelled through the entire novel. He was of the view that the female protagonist was the main force in the novel who had completely enamoured the male protagonist.
He said the novel was a psychoanalytical study of its characters, and this dimension made it a unique work. Jauhari said that when he started to read the book and found the Covid-19 pandemic to be its setting, he thought the novelist might have borrowed a lot from Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez’s novel ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’, which was also written in the setting of an epidemic. He added that after completing the novel, he could say that Moin’s work was not based on Marquez’s novel.
The moderator asked the author if he had depicted himself through the male protagonist, to which Moin replied that it was not the case that authors always depicted themselves in their fiction work. Former KPC president Allauddin Khanzada and others also spoke on the occasion.