Bangladesh’s finest short stories now in new book

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A new book has brought together some of the finest fiction stories from Bangladeshi authors as the country celebrates 50 years of its independence. The Demoness – The Best Bangladeshi Stories, 1971-2021 has 27 such stories in English including Kazi Nazrul Islam’s masterpiece The Demoness, Akhtaruzzaman Elias’s The Raincoat and Shawkat Ali’s The Final Resting Place.

Niaz Zaman has selected and edited the stories in the book, published by Aleph Book Company.

Zaman, who retired as Professor of English at the University of Dhaka, and currently serves as the advisor, Department of English at the Independent University, Bangladesh, said the book is a mix of stories from young and seasoned writers.

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“It was difficult to limit my choice to the twenty-seven stories included in this selection… Among these writers are both senior writers, some of whom have passed away, as well as younger writers who are making their mark on the Bangladesh literary scene,” Zaman said.

“Nevertheless, the stories in this volume are, in my view, exceptional in subject, theme, and style. Interesting on their own, taken together, they reveal a picture of this land and its people,” Zaman, the author of the award-winning “A Divided Legacy: The Partition in Selected Novels of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh”, said.

Bangladesh just celebrated its 50 years of independence on March 26 and the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Zaman said Bangladeshi stories refer to stories written in a political and linguistic space.

“It refers to Bengali short stories written by persons associated with the land that gained its independence from Pakistan in 1971 and came to be known as Bangladesh. They are not all contemporary stories written post-1971, but predate the creation of Bangladesh,” she said.

“They include East Pakistani writers, whose roots were in the land now known as Bangladesh, as well as writers from West Bengal who migrated to East Pakistan in the wake of the Partition in 1947. Or, in the case of Kazi Nazrul Islam and Syed Mujtaba Ali, who became citizens after 1971,” she added.

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