Manik Bandopadhyay
BEE Books E-Book
May 15, 2020
Final Verdict

About the Author

Manik Bandyopadhyay is an Indian author regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century Bengali literature. During a lifespan of 48 years and 28 years of a literary career, battling with epilepsy from the age of around 28 and financial strains all along, he produced some masterpieces of novels and short stories, some poems, essays etc. One of the early neo-realist films shot in Pakistan, The Day Shall Dawn is based on his story.
Other Works By Manik Bandopadhyay
Primeval And Other Stories
Selected Stories: Manik Bandyopadhyay
Wives & Others

3 stories by Manik Bandopadhyay

Translated by Arunava Sinha 

The happiness of finishing a task begun is real and immense. That’s probably why short stories are very popular and many resorts to them, especially when hard-pressed for time. It can be relished quickly, whereas a novel, however interesting, may go unfinished for lack of time or reading habits. 

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Bee Books has done its readers a big favour during this stressful lockdown period by releasing 3 Stories by renowned Bengali author Manik Bandopadhyay, translated by eminent translator Arunava Sinha, available in only Kindle ebook format.

About The Stories 

3 Stories consists of three short stories that allow us to dwell on Manik Bandopadhyay’s writing style.

Haran, his granddaughter and her husband is the first story.  

Bhuban Mandal, a rebel leader has been escaping the clutches of the police with the entire village shielding him. A midnight raid by the police armed with correct information brings them to Haran Das’s hut. Haran’s daughter and Moyna’s mother to protect Bhuban from police claims he is her son-in-law who has returned to Moyna after she arranged for the money promised at the time of their wedding.  The rest of the story is filled with twists and turns in Moyna’s life, and the life of the village.

The second story, The Reptile,  the longest and most powerful one in the collection is my favourite. Charu has guarded her father-in-law’s three-storied enormous house for many years only to lose it to a debt of thirty thousand rupees to their neighbour’s son Bonomali. Her daily strife with a half-insane and perennially suspicious husband and a father-in-law who refused to believe in the chastity of women, both now dead, has shrivelled her. Timorous and tired, she is in no mood to fight for ownership of the house but yearns to get it back for her only son Bhuban who lacks the natural intelligence meant for his age.

The human mind with its ulterior motives, carnal desire and deep avarice is exposed without restraint in this second of 3 Stories. What a man can do in ‘cold blood’ (maybe that inspires the title, a reptile that’s cold-blooded) to fulfil his desires is depicted with raw energy in this engrossing tale.

The last story in the collection The Shadow is about a man driven mad after his wife’s death. Unable to come to terms with her loss, he ponders in silence and surrounds himself with books on ghosts until one day he witnesses her appearance as a shadow against a dazzling rectangular frame on the wall of his dark room and this sight becomes a routine. Will he ever feel normal, do ghosts really exist?

Analysis and Conclusion 

Manik Bandopadhyay noted for his famous works Padma Nadir Majhi (The Boatman on the River Padma) and  Putul Nacher Itikatha (The Puppet’s Tale) was distinguished for exploring dark recesses of the human mind, dealing with hypocrisy, greed and pettiness in human beings mostly against a rural background. 

The story that very closely reflects this writing quality is The Reptile which also is the most impressive piece.

The first story Haran, his granddaughter and her husband concludes with few loose ends leaving the reader with an unquenched thirst. The Shadow also reads like a ‘slice of life’, prosaic without well-rounded characters or a full-fledged plot. 

The translation is good and ensures easy readability. A brief introduction of the author/a short preface would have made the book more complete and informative.

Favourite Quote 

Charu thinks in The Reptile – 

best quote from 3 stories bengali book

Divya Shankar

Divya Shankar

Divya, an engineering and sciences graduate, with 7 yrs working experience in semiconductor industry is currently a stay at home mum. She loves books across genres, with a definite soft corner for historical fiction and Indian writing. Her other interests are cooking, blogging and travelling.

6 Responses

  1. Good to see Manik Bandyopadhyay’s stories getting translated into English…Lovely review Divya

  2. That sounds like an interesting easy read. You have given a wonderful and genuine insight to the stories

  3. I am definitely reading this collection soon. Your description of the story reptile has piqued my curiosity.

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