Skip to main content
Cover for Mirages of the Mind

Mirages of the Mind

Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Matt Reeck (Translated by), Aftab Ahmad (Translated by)


List Price: 19.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A hilarious and nostalgic account of twentieth-century Muslim life on the Indian subcontinent

Basharat and his family are Indian Muslims who have relocated to Pakistan, but who remain deeply steeped in the nostalgia of pre-Partition life in India. Through Mirages of the Mind’s absurd anecdotes and unforgettable biographical sketches—which hide the deeper unease and sorrow of the family’s journey from Kanpur to Karachi—Basharet emerges as a wise fool, and the host of this unique sketch comedy. From humorous scenes in colonial north India, to the heartbreak and homesickness of post-colonial life in Pakistan, Mirages of the Mind forms an authentic portrait of life among South Asia’s Urdu speakers, rendered beautifully into English by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad.

Praise For Mirages of the Mind

Profoundly good-humored, genuinely wise, and very often laugh-out-loud funny....Yousufi has opinions on the moral conduct of dogs, the joys of ailing, flying kites from rooftops, and why Jewish prophets all rode donkeys. He brings to life a world where machine-guns are taken to weddings and where poor women dye their dung-covered floors to look like carpets. Whether he’s talking about a stolen lumber shipment or a horse that bolts at the sight of funerals, Yousufi’s witty storytelling is deftly captured in this English translation, which survives in spite of a desperate need for footnotes and a glossary, providing a lighthearted (if frequently unguided) plunge into one of the treasures of contemporary Pakistani culture.
— Nick DiMartino - Shelf Awareness

Rarely have I encountered a book which made me laugh so freely, and was such a pleasure to read aloud.
— Time Out New Delhi

Humor can be the hardest element to successfully bring into a new language and the translators carry over the singularly elastic wit of Yousufi with considerable aplomb.
— Wired

New Directions, 9780811224130, 574pp.

Publication Date: July 7, 2015

About the Author

Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi (b. 1923) is the author of four books, and has received the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, two of the most coveted arts awards in Pakistan.

Matt Reeck has published translations and poetry in the United States and India, and is the recipient of a Fulbright and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the PEN Foundation.

Aftab Ahmad is Lecturer in Hindi-Urdu at Columbia University.