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‘What terrible jest is fate engaged in? I meet Kamala and Nalinaksha meets Hemnalini – this is like a novel, and that too, a badly-written one. Such contradictory matchmaking is possible only for an uncaring writer like destiny – it conjures up events that the timid novelist dare not write in his imagined stories.’
After a boat wreck overturns his life, Rameshchandra Chowdhury mistakes young Kamala for his newly wedded bride. They move away from Calcutta to start a domestic life together, even as Ramesh is unable to forget Hemnalini, whom he was always in love with, but could not marry. Meanwhile, Hemnalini must steel her heart, whilst her hypochondriac father and hot-headed brother seek grooms for her. When Nalinaksha, a serene and influential doctor, enters the scene, fate decides to rock the boats again.
Initially serialized in Bangadarshan magazine between 1903 and 1904, and then published as a novel in 1906, Noukadoobi was Tagore’s exercise in psychoanalytical probing of an ensemble cast of characters, to reveal not just their individual pains and passions, but also the collective consciousness of the society of the period. Narrated in warm tones that reveal the tenderness of everyday life, and translated gracefully by Arunava Sinha, here is a story about love and sacrifice, faith and resilience that is timeless.
About the Author
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is India’s greatest littérateur. The only Indian to have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, he wrote prodigiously and brilliantly across forms, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, song lyrics, essays, travelogues, and even question papers. His works span an astonishing range of subjects, including humanism, love, family and society, politics, sociology, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, and religion. Tagore wrote primarily in Bangla, and his works have been translated into almost every major world language.
Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and non-fiction into English. More than thirty-five of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar’s Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen (2011), he has also been shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee. Besides India, his translations have been published in the U.K. and the U.S. in English, and in several European and Asian countries through further translation. He was born and grew up in Kolkata, and lives and writes in New Delhi.
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