Book Title: Stories from Saratchandra
Subtitle: Innocence and Reality
Author: Saratchandra Chattopadhyay
Translated By: Anindita Mukhopadhyay
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Publication Date: 20 Jan 2018
Genre: Fiction / Short Stories
‘Some time ago, a sudden rumour spread across our region that unless three children were sacrificed, the railway bridge over Roopnarayan just could not be constructed. Two small boys had already been buried alive under one of the pillions and only one more needed to be caught…’ This book is a collection of twelve widely acclaimed short stories of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, one of the doyens of Bengali literature. Divided into two sections, the first bunch of stories portray childhood in all its unburdened innocence while the latter section leads on to deeper sensibilities—the everyday experience of casteism, the lived reality of social hierarchy and the bonds of almost filial affection forged between man and animal that sustain both. Stories from Saratchandra shows Saratchandra’s keen eye as a social commentator, presenting a vivid picture of life in rural Bengal during the early twentieth century.
REVIEWED BY SOHINEE DEY
Saratchandra is a well proclaimed and an eminent name in Bengali literature. Growing up in a Bengali family, I have been exposed to Saratchandra’s stories. My mom had and my grandmother too. Though I haven’t read the Bengali scripts myself, my mother would always tell me stories of Saratchandra. One of the most well known stories I have heard of him is ‘Mohesh’. My mother used to say that it was even included in their syllabus and questions from that chapter would obviously be present in the examination paper.
Since, I haven’t read the original version so, I can’t judge whether the translated version did justice to it. But, since I was provided with this translated work, my review will be based on this translated work.
The book is divided into two sections containing six stories in each one. The first section contains stories of childhood and innocence. Each chapter is a different story and each one carries that innocence in the characters. In this part, even the writing style contains that touch of innocence and the characters have naivety to them. The characters felt real and convincing. The second part mainly deals with societal issues which existed in the early 20th century and some are even present these days.
The entire set of 12 short stories has that old, guileless and countryside feel to it. The stories does carry the smell of old times. Some words which were used in those days has been used in this book. All these minute additions made it a nostalgic reading experience for me.
I loved each of the short stories. The narrative was fluid and the language used was also pretty good. I did find some spelling errors but that’s okay I guess. I got to read Saratchandra’s stories that in itself made me happy.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING : ⭐⭐⭐.5 / ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay (1876–1938) was one of the most prolific novelists and short story writers from Bengal in the early twentieth century. Among his novels, his most notable works include Baikunther Will, Devdas and Srikanta; stories such as ‘Mejdidi’ and ‘Mohesh’ rank among the most loved. Saratchandra’s powerful portrayals of human, economic and social distress, colonialism, middle-class lives and the rural world are still widely read, translated and have been adapted into films.
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