Red, this sky

Radha Chakravarty, who teaches literature at Gargi College, University of Delhi is the author of a number of books that include Feminism and Contemporary Women Writers: Rethinking Subjectivity, translations of Kapalkundala, Chokher Bali, Gora, and Shesher Kabita. While co-editing The Essential Tagore (an ongoing project, for Visva Bharati and Harvard, she has a new collection out from Women Unlimited, Vermillion Clouds.

The social, cultural and literary landscape of women’s writing in Bengal has seen a major transformation over the last one hundred years. Both style and content reveal the extent to which their worlds have changed, subtly and dramatically, even as the writing itself becomes simultaneously, creative and political.

An astonishing variety of themes is present in this anthology as it grapples with, among other things, same-sex love, business entrepreneurship, love outside marriage, and the death of parents. Daughter, wife, sister, mother — the woman who has lived through the past century appears here in her many avatars. We see her making moral choices in the midst of wartime deprivation, and gripping her sister’s hand even as international border politics deny their relationship. She tries to come to terms with the changes in her environment, as her children accuse her of being incapable of moving with the times — even Ma Durga, it seems, is not exempt.

With occasional forays into the ghost story and the fable, this collection maps the bold contours of a broad but uneven terrain, with all the surprises and excitement this promises.

In our Translation section, in paperback, 257 pages, Rs. 350. ISBN: 9788188965519