The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: ‘Vintage Short Fiction from Bangladesh’ by Sagar Chaudhury

Written By: herbrunbridge - Apr• 20•13

ChaudhuryVintageEditor  and translator Sagar Chaudhury’s Vintage Short Fiction from Bangladesh (2008, ISBN 984 05 1790 2) is a real labor of love, encompassing thirteen stories in a 140 page book. In addition to the stories, there is a four page glossary that will assist the western reader in understanding many of the terms used by the writers. The stories were written over a period of four decades, spanning the 1960s through the 1990s. Here at WoWasis, we found that we liked several stories more than the others, and would actually recommend Niaz Zaman’s From the Delta over Chaudury’s collection, for readers unfamiliar with fiction from Bangladesh. Chaudhury’s book, we feel, is more geared toward those wishing to delve more deeply into the literature.

The real gem in this collection is Selina Hossain’s Akali’s Life at the Station (Akalir Stationer jeeban), the compelling story of a young prostitute working a railway station. This ten page story is a well-written tale, poignant, indicting, and sweet. Here’s one paragraph:

In time Akali gave birth to a lovely little girl. Nishi Khala named her Putul, and she indeed looked as pretty as a doll. With the three-month-old child in her lap, Akali again came back to her life at the station. She had by then started selling her body to anyone paying for it-that was her chief means of livelihood. As a result both happiness and sorrow vanished from Akali’s life.

Hossein’s story is the best of the bunch, and stayed with us for days afterward. Other authors included in this anthology are Kayes Ahmed, Shawkat Ali, Jyotiprakash Dutta, Akhtaruzzaman Elias, Hasan Azizul Huq, Mahmudul Huq, Syed Shamsul Huq, Abu Ishak, Shawkat Osman, Hassan Hafizur Rahman, Zahir Raihan, and Syed Waliullah.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.