This Could Have Become Ramayan Chamar's Tale: Two Anti-Novels

Subimal Misra (Author) Venkateswar Ramaswamy (Translator)
Pre-Order   Ships Jul 21, 2020

Description

Subimal Misra--anarchist, activist, anti-establishment, experimental anti-writer--is one of India's greatest living writers. This collection of two "anti-novels" is the first of his works to appear in the U.S. "This Could Have Become Ramayan Chamar's Tale" is a novella about trying to write a novella about a tea-estate worker turned Naxalite named Ramayan Chamar, who gets arrested during a worker's strike and is beaten up and killed in custody. But every time the author attempts to write that story, reality intrudes in various forms to create a picture of a nation and society that is broken down and where systemic inequalities are perpetuated by the middle- and upper-classes which are either indifferent or actively malignant. "When Color Is a Warning Sign" goes even further in its experimentation, abandoning the barest pretense of narrative and composed entirely as a collage of vignettes and snippets of dialogue, reportage, autobiography, etc. Together these two anti-novels are a direct assault on the vast conspiracy of not seeing that makes us look away from the realities of our socio-political order.

Product Details

Price
$15.95  $14.67
Publisher
Open Letter
Publish Date
July 21, 2020
Pages
296
Dimensions
5.5 X 0.9 X 8.4 inches | 0.75 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781948830157

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About the Author

Subimal Misra is a Bengali novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He's considered by many to be one of most important, and experimental, Bengali writers of all time. Heavily influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and William S. Burroughs, Subimal Misra uses various cinematic techniques, like montage, jump-cut etc., in his literary works. And Godard mentioned him as the "Godard of literature." The author of more than a dozen books, this is the first collection of his to appear in the United States.

V. Ramaswamy is a nonfiction writer and translator based in Kolkata, India. As an activist working for the rights of the labouring poor, Ramaswamy has written about workers, squatters, slums, poverty, housing and resettlement, and has been at the forefront of efforts to envision and initiate the rebuilding of his city from the grassroots. Since 2005, he has been translating the short fiction of the Bengali anti-establishment experimental writer, Subimal Misra, whose critical eye examines the society, politics and culture of his time.

Reviews

"The Godard of literature."--Jean-Luc Godard

"Misra leaps and alights from branch to bough in a cosmic garden of characters. . . . These two anti-novels are an invitation to engage with discomfort, through purposeful silence, jump cuts and ferocious prose."--Percy Bharucha, Hindustan Times

"Misra's stories are not seductive; their power lies in their subversion. They look straight into the dark heart of the middle class and use an array of startling techniques to undercut the pretensions and hypocrisies by which we live."--Jerry Pinto

"Misra's anti-novels are as much a reinvention of the novel, that has been congealed and commodified into a methodised, stationary, inert 'cultural object', as a critique of the bhadrolok, the bourgeoisie, whose totalitarian impulses have alienated and antagonised the rest in Bengal."--Rohit Chakraborty, Open Magazine

"When I read him for the first time, I saw that his stories rebelled against dominant literary conventions. His stories were anti-stories, a violent mix of fragmentary narratives and essays, even statistics, juxtaposed together to deliver a shocking statement. 'The bloodier the Naxalite movement in West Bengal grows, Vidyasagar's visage gets chopped off again and again, and the more the pavements of Kolkata become infested with sex-magazines.'"--Amitava Kumar

"[I]t takes a strong stomach to stay with his reports from the morgue, from the rotting body in a sack whose stench poisons a city, the half-whores and full-whores, but he reels you in, even as he plays games with language, arranging his sentences into one of his famous collages . . ."--Nilanjana S. Roy

"What was Subimal Misra thinking? Why can his stories catch your attention despite them not having a linear plot, a simple thing to tell? Who knows? They're worth reading and, if your imagination works, you could hear his laughter at the very end."--Luis A Gómez, National Herald India

"The book is a Guernica of sorts in printed letters and words--stark, chaotic, gut-wrenching, and confounding in its immensity of interpretations."--Nabina Das, Dhaka Tribune