Cloth $17.00 ISBN: 9781906497491 Published May 2010 World sales rights except India

Bait

Four Stories

Mahasweta Devi

Mahasweta Devi

Distributed for Seagull Books

Translated and with an Introduction by Sumanta Banerjee
175 pages | 4 1/4 x 7 | © 2010
Cloth $17.00 ISBN: 9781906497491 Published May 2010 World sales rights except India

Unlike most of Mahasweta Devi’s works, which focus on Bengali tribes and the rural dispossessed, the four stories collected in Bait are located in the urban and suburban criminal underworld, and form an unusual segment of Devi’s oeuvre.

The first story, “Fisherman,” is about a man who recovers the bodies of young boys from the village pond so that the police can pass them off as victims of drowning. “Knife,” on the other hand, is a tongue-in-cheek account of the liminal cultural world of West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh. A young woman makes her own protest against an exploitative establishment as a result of abuse by a politician and his cohorts in “Body.” An unemployed middle-class youth discovers himself after his first “test” killing in the dark story “Killer.”

This collection of fascinating and unsettling stories is anchored by an in-depth introductory essay by cultural historian Sumanta Banerjee who has firsthand familiarity with the settings and situations from his crime-reporting past. Banerjee contextualizes the stories within the development of the growing criminal underworld in Bengal today.

Contents

Translator’s Introduction

 

Fisherman

 

Knife

 

Body

 

Killer

 

Translator’s Notes

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