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Thread: Recently Begun Books

  1. #861
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by kpjayan View Post
    Humayun, by all means.. I am familiar with the Bengali writers from the Indian side. Would be very keen to know about the writers from the Bangladesh side.
    kpjayan, you have no idea how sad I am right now. I have been thinking about how to reply, how to write about the lack of literary translation in my land, and how to hide my frustration and anger. We have had some really great writers from this side of bengal, but most of them are not translated, at the very best a short story here and there under some anthologies,.. Bangladesh really needs a few good translators who can bring the hidden gems of this land. If you can read bengali, then I can suggest some wonderful writers... Seriously, it's such a shame, been jealous with the trend of translation in west bengal.

  2. #862
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Humayun Azad View Post
    tiganeasca, you seem to read indian and bengali writers a lot! It really feels good to see someone interested in my native literature. How did you come in contact with bengali writers? Do you have any personal favorite?
    I'm no longer quite sure how Indian and Bengali writers came to represent so large a part of my library. As I look over my profile pages on LibraryThing, I see that my top largest national "collections" after US and UK are Germany, France, Russia, India, Italy, Austria, Egypt, Japan, South Africa, and Hungary. Among Indian writers, my favorite is likely Premchand; among Bengali writers, Bannerjee (or should I say Bandyopadhyay?). (I somehow think of Tagore, given his vast accomplishments in so many types of writing, to be in a separate category by himself. I've read little by him that I didn't like.)

    I will also say that I've found Chatterjee's work seems to vary quite a bit in quality, though it's hard to know how much of what I perceive as quality is, in fact, attributable to the quality (or lack thereof) of the translation. My favorite so far has been Krishnakanta's Will, but I've only read three of his books. Next up on my list are probably Anandamath followed by Debi Chaudhurani. (I've found the translation of Durgesh Nandini to be adequate but hardly top-notch. And I have a feeling it detracts from my enjoyment. It is clear and it is largely fluid, but I wouldn't quite call it fluent. The book itself seems much more formulaic than either Krishnakanta's Will or The Forest Woman [Kapalkundala].)
    Last edited by tiganeasca; 18-Oct-2017 at 01:17.

  3. #863
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books



    Among Indian writers, my favorite is likely Premchand; among Bengali writers, Bannerjee (or should I say
    Bandyopadhyay?). (I somehow think of Tagore, given his vast accomplishments in so many types of writing, to be in a separate category by himself. I've read little by him that I didn't like.)
    I have not read Premchand, I'll try to find some of his books. Well, there are three Bandyopadhyay in Bengal, the great trio, Tarasankar, Bibhutibhushan and Manik. I suppose you are Talking about Bibhuti?

    I will also say that I've found Chatterjee's work seems to vary quite a bit in quality, though it's hard to know how much of what I perceive as quality is, in fact, attributable to the quality (or lack thereof) of the translation. My favorite so far has been Krishnakanta's Will, but I've only read three of his books. Next up on my list are probably Anandamath followed by Debi Chaudhurani. (I've found the translation of Durgesh Nandini to be adequate but hardly top-notch. And I have a feeling it detracts from my enjoyment. It is clear and it is largely fluid, but I wouldn't quite call it fluent. The book itself seems much more formulaic than either Krishnakanta's Will or The Forest Woman.)
    Well, Durgeshnandini is regarded by most as the first successful novel in Bengali literature. It was inspired by Walter Scot. Written in Shadhu, a highly sanskritized written form of Bengali, it is a tough read for most of the modern Bengali people. Anandamath and Debi Chaudhurani are his later works, the former being very controversial for its political and theological implication. The famous Vande Mataram was first published in Anandamath, a very patriotic song, later became the national song of India, highly despised by the muslims for its beautiful imagery compairing the land with goddesses.
    Chatterjee (There are many Chatterjees, the most famous being Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, Dickens of Bengal) is one of the first prose writers in Bengali, so, he might seem a little formulaic, archaic even. Nonetheless, happy reading

  4. #864
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Yes, Bibhutibhushan. I found Pather Panchali (and, to a very slightly lesser extent, Aparajito) to be extraordinary. My favorite by Premchand is Godaan.

    Now that you remind me, I do recall hearing or reading that Walter Scott was the inspiration for Durgesh Nandini. Now that I have read about half of it, it is easy to see. It's enjoyable, but I think not of the same quality as Krishnakanta's Will or even of The Forest Woman. I'm very curious about the two later works.

    I'd be very grateful for any recommendations you'd care to make...my limitations, obviously, being what is available in English.

    Thanks!

  5. #865
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    There is a translation of Tarasankar Bandyopadhyay by Columbia university press, The Tale of Hansuli Turn (হাঁসুলি বাঁকের উপকথা). Here's the synopsis of the book by CUP-
    "A terrifying sound disturbs the peace of Hansuli Turn, a forest village in Bengal, and the community splits as to its meaning. Does it herald the apocalyptic departure of the gods or is there a more rational explanation? The Kahars, inhabitants of Hansuli Turn, belong to an untouchable "criminal tribe" soon to be epically transformed by the effects of World War II and India's independence movement. Their headman, Bonwari, upholds the ethics of an older time, but his fragile philosophy proves no match for the overpowering machines of war. As Bonwari and the village elders come to believe the gods have abandoned them, younger villagers led by the rebel Karali look for other meanings and a different way of life.

    As the two factions fight, codes of authority, religion, sex, and society begin to break down, and amid deadly conflict and natural disaster, Karali seizes his chance to change his people's future. Sympathetic to the desires of both older and younger generations, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay depicts a difficult transition in which a marginal caste fragments and mutates under the pressure of local and global forces. The novel's handling of the language of this rural society sets it apart from other works of its time, while the village's struggles anticipate the dilemmas of rural development, ecological and economic exploitation, and dalit militancy that would occupy the center of India's post-Independence politics.

    Negotiating the colonial depredations of the 1939–45 war and the oppressions of an agrarian caste system, the Kahars both fear and desire the consequences of a revolutionized society and the loss of their culture within it. Lyrically rendered by one of India's great novelists, this story of one people's plight dramatizes the anxieties of a nation and the resistance of some to further marginalization."

  6. #866
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Humayun,

    Let us start a thread on Bengali Literature. I can chip in from this part of Bengal to whatever extent I know. You will be better equipped as you read it in original. One of my 'crib' has been the lack of 'literature' from Bengal in the last 20-30 years ( after Mahaswetha Devi / Shankar / AshapurnaDevi and Sunil Gangopadhyay) .
    Jayan



  7. #867
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Jayan, open the thread,... I am all in 😁

  8. #868

    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Fatos Kongoli - The Corpse


    Grabbed this one after looking a couple of times at my local library for Dog Skin in vain.

  9. #869
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Sure you did ,acheter. May I ask what's the title of your edition?

    P.S. Nice pastiche.
    Last edited by kadare; 01-Nov-2017 at 12:39.

  10. #870
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Blindness by Jose Saramago . I loved the first 30 pages but now it's starting to become predictable
    To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations, such is a pleasure beyond compare.
    Yoshida Kenko

  11. #871
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Blindness by Jose Saramago . I loved the first 30 pages but now it's starting to become predictable




    I think I know what you mean but my advice would be to stick with it. I think you may find some twists and turns.

  12. #872
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Quote Originally Posted by Cleanthess View Post
    Blindness by Jose Saramago . I loved the first 30 pages but now it's starting to become predictable
    This is very similar to my first reaction after reading Disgrace. Then I realized that Coetzee intended exactly this to be the reaction to reading his novel, in other words: he was trolling us, his readers.

  13. #873
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    Default Re: Recently Begun Books

    Ridvan Dibra - Triumfi i dytė i Gjergj Elez Alisė (The Second Triumph of Gjergj Elez Alia)

    It took me a while until I figured out the novel was an allegory for post-Communist society, and I must say I'm enjoying it much more this way. One could draw parallels between this one and Ismail Kadare's 1980 novel "Who brought Doruntine back?", as both novels serve as a sequel to a particular story from Albanian/Balkan folklore.

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