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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Book Review: The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told by Arunava Sinha

Title: The Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told

Author: Compiled and Translated by Arunava Sinha

Publisher: Aleph

Genre: Fiction

Date:  2016

Price: Rs.499

Pages: 305

Bengal is the land of greatest writers, since centuries. It is a land where even the mundane is addressed from a philosophical perspective and becomes interesting because of the lively writing. In India, short stories are abundant and we have grown up with the fond memories of an elder mostly grandmothers and fathers narrating them. We have learnt from the smallest to the greatest lessons from theand therefore these stories stay with us forever. No matter how many great novels one has read the joy of reading short story collection is different, special. The precise reason I picked up this book was for my love of these little, emphatic stories from the best writers. The preface of the book unravels the translator cum writer Arunava Sinha's hunger being abated by these stories, which tells one how deeply his heart and soul are linked to the. For translation isn't an easy job. 

As you begin reading the book the first few stories are the universally popular The Kabuliwallah by Rabindranath Tagore, The Music Room by Tarashankar Bandhopadhyay and the satire Einstein and Indubala by my favourite Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay. These stories can be read and re-read. I am sure the original Bengali versions must be amazing but for those like me who do not posses the knowledge of knowing the language, most of these translations in different collections, translated by different writers is also a treat. Arunava's translation is really appealing and binding. The writer has chosen to include stories of humor, satire, dark fiction and heart breaking reality all in this one book. All of these in someway highlight human nature in one way or another. I loved the fact that each story also had a different writing style along with the genre and it is challenging to not include your component into translating somebody's work, to preserve the style, the essence, the tone and the story post-mortem was the best in this regard. 

Overall there is something for everyone in the book as it cannot fall into one single genre. Its like eating a little froa huge spread the soul who loves exploring would definitely love it.

Rating: 4.5/5 . Highly recommended.

About The Author: Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and non-fiction into English. Over thirty of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar’s Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen (2011), he has also won the Muse India award for translation for When the Time Is Right (2012) and been shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee. Besides India, his translations have been published in the UK and US in English and in several European and Asian countries through further translation. He was born and grew up in Kolkata and lives and writes in New Delhi.

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