The darksome dozen-plus one. Thirteen haunting tales exploring Bengal’s ghostly repertoir, authored by evocative storytellers such as Tagore, Lila Majumdar and Mahasweta Devi. Hauntings takes you to the supernatural beyond, characterised by witches, vampires and other numinous creations which cross and unfurl from the deep recesses of the mind, combine with the eerie netherworld and produce that shiver in your spine. The stories feature female protagonists who universalise the cry of rape, love, loneliness, betrayal and social marginality as they act from the other side of midnight whichle living the life within. Emotions of jealousy, greed, the hunger for youth, unrequited love, rage, revenge and attachement find passionate expression by means of their supernatural powers, breaking the silence imposed on them in life.
The Express Magazine
(July 2, 2000)
In Bengali literature, the supernatural lurks in every corner - in cremation grounds, bamboo forests, ruins, the people’s minds. It also has a rich tradition of literary magazine, where writers like Tagore and other greats would contribute with a novella, a poem, and very often with a ghost story. True, much of the charm is lost in translation. But do gloss over the language conundrum, and treat yourself to 13 gems of some of the best minds in genre.
Of traditional Bengali ghosts, there is a taxonomy, outlined in the introduction to Hauntings ; not only are they divided into male and female spirits, there are about 12 or 13 kinds of ghosts with specific attributes, from the nishibhoot to the petni. Because this anthology traverses a century, it demonstrates the disintegration of these old taxonomics as the bhoot moves from abandoned ruins and deserted ponds to familiar bedroom skylight.
- Anuradha Roy
(July 17, 2000)
Reading Suchitra Samanta’s introduction to Hauntings: Bangla Ghost Stories was like taking a trip down memory lane, when one had to obey all kinds of dos and don’ts to keep the large variety of ghosts at bay. Like not answering if someone called in the dead of night to avoid the nishibhoot, not approaching a bel tree where the brahmadaitya was supposed to live, or a shaora tree, abode of the shankchunni, after sunset.
From the rich tradition of ghost stories that is an integral part of Bangla literature. Samanta selects 13 sspanning over a century. There are three stories by Tagore, two of which have been made into films-Manithara by Satyajit Ray as part of Teen Kanya and Kshudita Pashan by Tapan Sinha, who retained the title.
The collection is fairly representative. Samanta clarifies her criteria for selection, one of which is that stories with women as protagonists have been preferred.
The Translator and Editor
Cover Design: Geeta Dharmarajan & Arvinder Chawla
Cover Sculpture: Durriya Qazi
Category: Katha Regional Fiction
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 216 pages
ISBN 81-87649-01-1 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]
Labels: Banaphul, Ghost Stories, Katha Bangla Library, Lila Majumdar, Mahasweta Devi, Rabindranath Tagore, Short Fiction