Die, Said The Tree And Other Stories – Syed Mustafa Siraj


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In the entire universe, everything is in pairs. Like the right and left hand. The galaxy that we live in also has its opposite galaxy. Just like you see a reverse image of yourself in a mirror. Likewise, if there is sound, there is also silence. Trees are a beautiful emblem of endless silence. But do trees talk? A murderous, androgynous tree that talks; an ageing landless field-hand who dreams an ever-receding dream; the disquieting utterances of a loyal servant possessed by a dead priest; a crumbling, derelict old house accused of encouraging erotic escapades; a writer in search of a story and something more ? From one of Bengal’s finest, most loved and respected wordsmiths, here are stories unusual and evocative-in English for the first time. Earthy, quiet, enigmatic, at times surreal and satirical, they explore the everyday sweetness and harshness of life with care and poignancy. Moving between the Birbhum countryside that Siraj grew up in, small towns, and Kolkata, they blur the lines between the rural and urban, seamlessly integrating contrasting perspectives, the impossible plurality and polyphony of life. Siraj brings alive ordinary people on the margins confronting universal human predicaments and dilemmas with an empathy both profound and insightful. Katha celebrates another great bhasha writer and Sahitya Akademi Award winner whose vital embrace of life and language transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries, whose silences speak as wise and eloquent as his words.


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