Contents: Acknowledgements. Contributors. Introduction. 1. Dhouli/Mahasweta Devi. 2. The divorce/Mahasweta Devi. 3. Love story/Mahasweta Devi. 4. The Kayak/Nabaneeta Dev Sen. 5. The aftermath/Nabaneeta Dev Sen. 6. And the rains came again/Nabaneeta Dev Sen. 7. Please forgive me/Ashapurna Devi. 8. The red saree/Ashapurna Devi. 9. Padmalata's dream/Ashapurna Devi. 10. Shirish/Bani Basu. 11. The Call of the Sea/Bani Basu. 12. Her own seat/Bani Basu. 13. The Indir Thakuruns/Suchitra Bhattacharya. 14. Bonds/Suchitra Bhattacharya. 15. The testament of Madhobi/Suchitra Bhattacharya. Glossary. Note on translators.
"This selection of fifteen stories by five exceptional Bengali women writers looks at the lives of women who are neither stars nor martyrs in the feminist cause: The are voices, individual and particular, of women leading their everyday lives, nursing their joys and sorrows. These women write out of their bodies and the intimate spaces around them; they write the history and mathematics of their lives; they compose deeper reality; they give us an atmosphere, a sky, and a house with many doorways, helping us to reclaim their original energy and wonderful clarity.
The manushi created by the woman writer speaks in several voices and addresses issues, emotional and psychological, that affect their lives and control their decisions: from the low-caste woman of Mahasweta Devi's story to the teenage immigrant in America of Nabaneeta Dev Sen's, from the girl child battling humiliation in Bani Basu's to the victim of marital exploitation in Ashapurna Devi's, and the women of the old-age home in Suchitra Bhattacharya's tale. These women form a small strong chorus, which testifies that women's writing is more than a literary act--it is imaging a world into being.
It is through the battles that they must fight daily that the women explore their emotional, social, and economic selfhood. The stories, at once linear and circular, offer fewer closures than the work of male writers, and carry with them the echoes of loss.
This book will appeal to students and scholars of regional Indian literature, as well as general readers." (jacket)