Unconventional relationships—a married woman in love with a younger brother-in-law; a love triangle between a man, his
wife, and his sister-in-law; an intimate
affair between a married man and a distant cousin—are the subject of Rabindranath Tagore's three novellas Nashtanir (The Broken Home), Dui Bon (Two Sisters), and Malancha (The Garden and the Gardener).
In these three novellas—written
between 1901 and 1933—Tagore focuses on the subtle nuances of unsanctioned relationships, exploring feelings of loneliness and worthlessness in middle-class housewives in colonial Bengal. They display Tagore's remarkable understanding of a woman's psyche, with all three works underlining the incompatibility between husbands and wives, and how the ensuing void lead to forbidden relationships. In Charulata, Sharmila, and Neeraja—the three strong yet vulnerable heroines—Tagore presents emerging ‘new women', with thoughts and desires of their own.
While Sukhendu Ray's new translations retain the cultural and linguistic ambience of the original, Bharati Ray's Introduction places these works in the social context of early-twentieth-century Bengal.
This three-in-one classic collection will prove rewarding for all readers interested in Indian fiction as well as for students and teachers engaged in a serious study of Indian literature in translation, comparative literature, and gender and cultural studies.
Sukhendu Ray (Translator) has translated selected stories from Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar's Thakumar Jhuli, published as The Winged Horse (OUP 1997). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, England and Wales.