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Author: Ashapurna Debi
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Jharna Sanyal
Publisher: Orient BlackSwan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788125047087
The Magic Web and Other Stories is a collection of eighteen of Ashapurna Debi’s short stories on the lives of widows. One of the most prolific creative writers in Indian literature, Ashapurna Debi is known for her incisive chronicles of the Bengali middle-class. With women as her chosen subjects, her stories voice suppressed histories of intimate lives, and probe into the familial and social dynamics of relationships analyzing the play of gender, caste and class.Through these stories, we are introduced to ritual-oriented drudges and gossip-mongering women, and to unbecoming women who refuse to hear the voice of everyday morality and silence the promptings of received values. One finds in the stories the rational, sensible, modern, urban gentleman all but merely the camouflaged victims of patriarchy. There are also tales where traces of deeply entrenched desires, expressed through gestures and silences, signify the buried yet pulsating emotions in the lives of women.Between conscience and custom, reason and prejudice, oppression and agency, these narratives show a rare sensitiveness to the deprivations and vulnerabilities, the triumphs and rebellion, the noise amidst the silences of the widow and her world.Jharna Sanyal masterfully retains this sensitiveness in a translation that is both confident and compassionate. To those wishing to savor the richness of Ashapurna Debi’s writings, this is a gift!About The Translator:Jharna Sanyal is Professor of English, University of Calcutta. She has published articles on the interface between Bengal and Britain in the nineteenth and twentieth century. She has edited 19th Century Poetry and Prose: A Selection (Macmillan, 2002) and co-authored Narratives of Frailty: Saratchandra Chattopadhyay and the Colonial Encounter—An Alternative Mode of Hindu Self-fashioning (Dasgupta & Co., 2008). She has also translated Bengali short stories and essays for various anthologies and journals.
ContentsAcknowledgements Remembering Choto-thakuma Introduction A Note on Translation 1 Addiction 2 Bibi Begum’s Shiva Temple 3 Expiation 4 Insensible 5 Of Kith and Kin 6 One Death and Another 7 Playing with Fire 8 Prejudice 9 Raju’s Mother 10 Reflection 11 The Chatter-box 12 The Deceiver 13 The Egotist 14 The Invitation 15 The Magic Web 16 The Runaway 17 Transgression18 Water and Fire