cover of book

by Mahasweta Devi
translated by Anjum Katyal
Seagull Books, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-80309-103-7 | Cloth: 978-1-80309-077-1

A trenchant, darkly humorous, and unsentimental look at Calcutta society.

Set in Calcutta in the mid-1980s, Truth/Untruth is a fast-paced thriller built around the death of the pregnant Jamuna—a maid in a newly affluent residential apartment complex—and Arjun, the upwardly mobile businessman who seduced her. Packed with a cast of colorful characters, this novel is a trenchant, darkly humorous, and unsentimental look at the different segments of Calcutta society: from the middle-class culture vultures to the unscrupulous “promoter” class and the domestic helpers and slum goons who form an intrinsic part of the city’s life. All are implicated in a complex web of guilt and bizarre twists and turns. Sex, lies, death—the great modernist themes—run like a thread through this book, exposing societal greed, lust, corruption, and moral hypocrisy with a sardonic tone that spares none. An unusual novel by an author who is otherwise known for her hard-hitting activist-feminist stories, Truth/Untruth underlines the exploitative vicious cycle that defines urban relations between the haves and have-nots.

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