This was another book offered for free at Archipelago Books, what a great selection. Of course, I have heard of Basu, he is very prolific and famous in Bengal. But I have never come across a suitable translation before. This book is a montage of five stories about love. Five gentlemen have to spend the night in a train station waiting room in 1940s India and start talking about the women they have loved in the past.
So the stories are all woven by a common thread, but are each man’s reflections. They are all set in the 1920s British India, and the women are all very much a product of their times. Some of the love stories are unrequited, but not all, which makes the variety unpredictable. The translation is absolutely sublime, I was particularly impressed as love stories can be harder than most to translate due to the nuances of emotion.
I would recommend this book. Its a brief read, and perfect for a solitary lockdown evening, when you might be tempted to watch something online. But I’d counsel this read instead, perhaps with a cup of something warm for company.