|About the Book|
Tagores first short story, Bhikharini, appeared in 1877, when he was only sixteen. Over the next six decades, he continued to write short stories, virtually inventing the genre in Bengali. Ninety-five of his stories were collected in a four-volume anthology Galpaguchchha. Tagores world is largely Bengal--the rural landscape, its provincial towns, and the colonial city of Calcutta of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--though the setting for some stories, notably Hungry Stones and Forlorn Hope, is elsewhere in the dim past, while A Tale of Fantasy is a work of pure imagination in a never-never land. Drawn generally from the everyday lives of ordinary people, his stories traverse the provincial domain to reflect universal feelings and values that are truly timeless, reminding us why Galpaguchchha remains among the most popular works of Bengali literature. The tales, noted for Tagores robust treatment of his themes touch with the warmth of humanity, often sentimental but never mawkish, depict the authors ability to see beyond the human condition and look into the heart of his characters--their raptures and pangs of longing, their foibles and nobility--with perception and compassion, never judgmental, and often not devoid of a sense of humor.This three-volume English translation by Ratan Kumar Chattopadhyay called Selection from Galpaguchchha is a collection of sixty-one of Tagores short stories broadly grouped under the themes of [arting ways, the relationship between men and women, and the power within the woman, respectively.In Volume 2, we find the ever-popular Ramkanais Folly, The Ghats Story, Woman Bereft of Jewels, Grandfather, and The Matronly Boy, among other stories. The travails of a timid man of indomitable honesty who attains a tragic heroism are narrated in Ramkanais Folly, while the theme of The Ghats Story is the unstated, forbidden love of a young woman for a hermit who may or may not be her long-lost husband. The frisson in the haunting climax of the Woman Bereft of Jewels, a horrifying morality tale of egotism and greed, is justly famous.Details annotations and a Glossary are unique features of this translation.To those tired of the excess of this age, Tagores stories will come as a benediction, not only to soothe, but also to query and sometimes to shock and unsettle. In Chattopadhyays lucid translation, the stories have been sought to be retold in same vein as the original.