I received the book The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told Translated by Arunava Sinha as a review copy from Rupa Publications and I would like to thank Rizwan Khan of Rupa for the same.
About the Book
Some of the world’s finest short fiction has originated (and continues to flow) from) the cities, villages, rivers, forests and plains of Bengal. This selection features twenty-one of the very best stories from the region. Here, the reader will find one of Rabindranath Tagore’s most revered stories ‘The Kabuliwallah’ in a glinting new translation, memorable studies of ordinary people from Tarashankar and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, the iconic Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s wrenching study of Bengali society, ‘Mahesh’, as well as over a dozen other astounding stories by some of the greatest practitioners of the form—Buddhadeva Bose, Ashapurna Debi, Premendra Mitra, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mahasweta Devi, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Nabarun Bhattacharya, among others. These are stories of anger, loss, grief, disillusionment, magic, politics, trickery, humour and the darkness of mind and heart. They reimagine life in ways that make them unforgettable.
Some books are nice to read and some books are nice to hold. Some books are nice to read and digest. This book is a mixture of all of the above. The author has taken the works of prominent Bengali authors and done a very meaningful translation of the book. In the introduction, he has mentioned how he fell in love with Bengali short stories. What is commendable is that the translation has been so beautifully done that the essence of the story is not lost. All the twenty one stories selected for the book have been translated with the same effort. There is no part of the book where I felt that the effort is half-hearted.
I must confess that I read each story twice and during the second read, I could actually feel the story. My favourite story is Rabindranath Tagore’s Kabuliwalla, I think I read it thrice.
A must read for all the lovers of Bengali literature, short story lovers and every one else.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.