The Book of Dhaka: A City in Short Fiction
by Anwara Syed Haq (Author), Moinul Ahsan Saber (Author), Syed Manzoorul Islam (Author), Parvez Hossain (Author), Rashida Sultana (Author), Salma Bani (Author), Shaheen Akhtar (Author), Pushpita Alam (Editor), Arunava Sinha (Editor)
A city is several things to its residents; especially a city like Dhaka that has immense history and culture. The book is a collection of 10 short stories, and one of the collections in “Reading the City” series by Commapress; written by several authors, bringing out post-freedom contemporary stories of aspirations, outlook, and moods of its citizens. The emotion of the book largely dwells on despair throughout the collection of these short fictional stories.
The stories capture the essence of the different social classes in the city and tell stories like the one in ‘The circle’, which is a narrative of routine life of a burned out, dejected clerk whose love for his family brings out a myriad emotions of anger, helplessness, self-pity and guilt in him. The stories range from routine to surrealism and also reflects on the political freedom in the present post-independence age.
Although the book tells stories of lives of the city’s people, the intricate translated text brings out the quintessence city and its soul. This book, when read with the rest of the books in its series, could illustrate how the history and the culture of cities shapes the spectrum of viewpoints and ideologies; in the lines of how although each of the fictional short story is different individually, collectively have a theme.
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About the Author:
Suman is an urban planner, feminist, traveler, aspiring writer and the propagator of ‘Sumanity’ – her way of looking at little things in life.
Book review first published on NOV 1, 2017