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The Open-Winged Scorpion: And Other Stories
by Abul Bashar
translated by Epsita Halder
Seagull Books, 2018
eISBN: 978-0-85742-565-2 | Cloth: 978-0-85742-550-8

The Open-Winged Scorpion and Other Stories is a collection of ten powerful Bengali short stories, all translated into English for the first time. Hailing from Murshidabad district in West Bengal, Abul Bashar pens stories about precarious lives of marginal Muslim communities in that district. His tales are shot through with the fears, dreams, hopes, and anxieties of the communities he portrays: their poverty and piety, the sensuality of the ancient mythologies they reimagine and remember, the rituals that permeate their lives, and the ever-present influence of the River Padma, which brings the silt that makes the land flourish—and the floods that destroy the crops and the people who plant them. The complex dynamics of the trivial and the transcendental emerge in Bashar’s stories, as the tales become no less than an archive and richly imagined historical testimony of an abject community relegated to the margins of the society too focused on the future to remember people who are struggling in the here and now.

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