Fabulous Machinery for the Curious:The Garden of Urdu Classical Literature 

An absorbing, joyous, and colorful collection of stories from the qissa genre.

Fabulous Machinery for the Curious presents the first English translation of some of the finest texts from the qissa genre. In this book, acclaimed translator Musharraf Ali Farooqi gathers the greatest of these tales, written or transcribed in the Urdu language by master storytellers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Spreading from Persia to Arabia to South Asia over 1,500 years, the qissa appropriated verse and prose narratives to become the preeminent storytelling genre. The combined traditions of the many cultures of Indo-Islamic civilization resulted in a flowering of qissas in Urdu. This collection distills a vast body of oral and written literature, from resplendent sagas of romantic love and thrilling adventures in fairyland to picaresque stories of deception and haunting tales of nobility and viciousness. Fabulous Machinery for the Curious brings these forgotten gems to a new generation of readers and reminds us of the abiding power that great stories and ancient genres have for engaging the contemporary world.

"Whenever you see the words 'translated by Musharraf Ali Farooqi' on the cover of a book, you should grab it and rejoice. Farooqi is a master storyteller, translator, and author who will transport you so beautifully to realms you never knew existed, you'll be reluctant to return."—Daisy Rockwell, International Booker Prize–winning translator