The Aunt who wouldn’t die- Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
This book came to me at a very opportune moment. Just when I was reeling with after effects of Americanah feeling heavy headed, I picked this little up. The Aunt who wouldn’t die is a light and entertaining novella carrying in its undercurrents societal issues concerning women. Translated from Bengali,it is a story about three generations of women who have distinct personas; Somlata mature for her age and intelligent, Roshomoyee-repressed by society but bold and Boshon-a feminist in the making.
It is a short book which revolves around a household of aristocrats in Kolkata who are exceptionally rich.They are brought to the verge of nothingness as the males in this family have never been conditioned to work for a living. It is then that newly wed Somlata decides to steady the household again.She convinces her husband to work and they start and establish the business together. While at it,her Pishima(Roshomoyee) who suffers an untimely death keeps haunting her. She troubles her(a lot) but also provides her information about her own family. She was a child widow and was guarded under extreme societal norms made for widows during that time.Her voice in the book made me realise how much the women especially widows in our country have been deprived of.Years later,Somlata’s daughter is born- Boshon,who is a vibrant girl,non-fearing and opinionated.But there is more to her identity. The story is presented through the narratives of both, the mother and daughter.
Being a very breezy book,with no hiccups and a smooth story with hints of magical realism, it very efficiently targets patriarch, female status in society and some fierce feminist opinions without making you feel exhausted because most of the times books dealing with such topics in prime can be gruelling. It is finely translated and maintains the essence of a Bengali household. I love it when as a reader I can feel the originality and the roots in a translated literature novel.
Looking for something small,nice and meaningful? Pick this up!
Thank you to the publisher bee.books for the review copy #gifted