Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Impermanence of Lies: Stories of Jyotirmoyee Devi

The Impermanence of Lies: Stories of Jyotirmoyee Devi
Introduction by Mahasweta Devi
Translated from the Bengali by a group of translators
demy octavo pb 143pp Jan 1998 ISBN 81-85604-21-5 Rs 130

This first-ever collection of Jyotirmoyee Devi’s short stories in an English translation from the original Bengali spans forty years of the author’s career. Her interests ranged from the feudal world of the princely state of Jaipur, to East Bengal at the time of Partition, to the urban world of our cities. The stories reflect her concern with many issues painfully relevant even today: how traditional cultures try to cope with change and how individuals navigate their way between the old and the new, the causes of female infanticide, women caught in the crossfire of communalism and the commodification of women in various ways. Humane yet unsentimental, sometimes quite stark, the author is extraordinarily modern in tone and style. Her vision shows us a host of characters, often caught between the past and the future, the home and the world outside.

Jyotirmoyee Devi (1894-1988) was born into a distinguished Bengali family of Jaipur. She was awarded the Rabindra Puraskar in 1973.

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