Monday, November 29, 2010

Reader's Diary #668- Manik Bandopadhyay: Primal Passions

Inspired by last week's Amazing Race visit to Bangladesh, I went in search of Bangladeshi short story authors. Fortunately, I was able to find a whole bunch at Banglapedia, the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh.

Unfortunately, my first Bangladeshi short story turned out to be a very nasty piece of work. Not written poorly, just nasty in terms of its characters and arguably its cynicism.

"Primal Passions" by Manik Bandopadhyay begins with a man named Bhikhu who finds himself injured and alone during monsoon season after a heist with his gang has gone wrong.

Despite the mention of a gang and heist, I mistakenly began to root for Bhikhu. He's sleeping outside in a storm, fending off snakes and insects, he's thirsty, and the wound in his arm has turned septic. I guess I wanted it to be a Jack London sort of tale, but set in south Asia instead of the Yukon. How wrong I was.

About three quarters of the way through the first page (it's 3 pages long) I began to realize how despicable Bhikhu really was. And just about everyone else. But so what if Manik Bandopadhyay didn't work for the Bangladesh department of tourism, is the story a good read?

Somewhat, in a driving by a car accident sort of way. You didn't see it happen but you see the result and try as you might, it's hard to look away. The descriptions are well done but there's little build-up or climax. In the final paragraph Bandopadhyay refers to a civilized world. Until then, I wasn't sure he believed one actually existed.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)


Teddy Rose said...

Hm, I am guessing I probably wouldn`t like this story. However, since it`s not a big time investment, I may check it out.

I read Farewell by Guy de Maupassant:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That was a disheartening story, and a little disconcerting in the way it moved so quickly from situation to situation.

Anonymous said...

I followed the link and read the story.
The piece, on its own, could serve as the justification for chick-lit.

John Mutford said...

Teddy Rose: The beauty of a short story-- no matter how bad it is, it'll be over soon. Unless it's by Alice Munro, of course.

Barbara: Disheartening certainly sums it up.

Niranjana: Ha! This is why I like happy mediums.