B.T. Road / The Hollow:Two Novellas Translated By: Saugata Ghosh
B.T. Road (B.T. Roader Dharey, 1953) emerged out of Samaresh Basu's own experiences of urban slum life concentrated around the jute mills of Bengal and the trade union movement that grew around them. The residents of a nameless slum next to the Barrackpore Trunk Road are brought to life with his sensitive pen, not from the perspective of an outsider viewing the grim squalor of the place but from a deep enquiry into their inner lives. With The Hollow (Bibar, 1965), a chilling, often grotesque, portrayal of society and its mores, Basu turned towards a frank dissection of the middle class and its unashamed pursuit of self-interest. With characteristic incisiveness, he tells the story of the dissolute Biresh and his struggle to free himself from the confines of love, family, profession and politics. Charged with obscenity at the time of its publication, it remains 'a unique ethical novel in Bengali'. Translated by Saugata Ghosh, with a rare feel for the nuances of the original, this volume presents one of the stalwarts of Bengali literature to a new readership.
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