The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis book review: ‘New Age Short Stories,’ Bangladeshi fiction edited by Niaz Zaman

Written By: herbrunbridge - Apr• 30•13

NewAgeShortStoriesNiaz Zaman is a formidable editor. In her collection New Age Short Stories (2006, ISBN 984-8715-02-9), she’s compiled twenty-seven stories over 237 pages. Nearly all of them are top-notch, and they all are compelling. These aren’t ‘New Age’ in the western sense: New Age is the name of the Bangladeshi newspaper that originally printed these stories.

Here at WoWasis, we found it difficult to pick favorites, but here are several. We’ve always loved Selina Hossein’s writing, and here she offers The World of Love and Labour, a get-even story told about an 18 year old girl who her parents have agreed to trade for some property. We loved Syed Badrul Ahsan’s A Woman Named Mrinmoyee, which describes the protagonist’s love for and marriage to a corpulent, poor woman with nothing to offer, in the way of a dowry or education. It flies in the face of the traditional Bengali belief system as it relates to society and marriage. Another favorite was Deena Forkan’s Grand Finale, describing the entry and exit of a mystery woman into the life of a well-respected older man.

One of the more complex stories was Najmul Alam’s The Wife. Here, a poor rickshaw driver is married to a beautiful woman he has never loved. He continues a relationship with an old lover in a tale fraught with questions regarding relationship built of social convenience and necessity rather than desire, love, or even like.

One hallmark of this book is the emphasis on strong female characters, not surprising considering Zaman’s past collections of stories. This isn’t necessarily a woman’s book, though. Men will find lots to enjoy here, too, especially the manner in which the male figures in the book relate — or don’t relate — to these women. The collection is so strong that the reader wants to know more about the writers, and Zaman has anticipated this by including a one paragraph biography of each of them.

Writers in this volume include: Humayun Ahmed, Kazi Anis Ahmed, Syed Badrul Ahsan, Shaheen Akhtar, Najmul Alam, Marisa Anaman, Deena Forkan, Parag Chowdhury, Tulip Chowdhury, Selina Hossain, M. Zafar Iqbal, Syed Manzoorul Islam,  Nasreen Khundker, Makbula Manzoor, Imdadul Haq Milon, Maithilee Mitra, Manal Mohamed, Shabnam Nadiya, Farhana Haque Rahman, Rezaur Rahman, Husne Ara Shahed, Syed Waliullah, and Niaz Zaman.  

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  1. We bought two of your books at the airport in Dhaka, Niaz, and also have reviewed ‘From the Delta’ at

    We also mention the airport’s Omni bookstore as well at

  2. Niaz Zaman says:

    Thanks for the review. Glad that the use of New Age has been explained. How did you come across this book? You mention other books by me. Have you reviewed any others.

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