Monday, 29 January 2018

Book Review: The Aunt That Wouldn't Die / Goynar Baksho by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Translated by Arunava Sinha



Book: The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

Author: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay

Translator: Arunava Sinha

Publisher: Bee Books 

Pages: 120

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: A joint family with dwindling fortunes. A dead aunt. A lingering ghost. A box of jewellery.

General Thoughts: I watched Goynar Baksho, the film, when it first came out and I loved it. It is an amazing movie. Directed by Aparna Sen and starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Moushumi Chatterjee and Saswata- the film is a laugh riot. I knew it was based on a novella but since it was written in Bengali and an English translation wasn't available (back then) I couldn't read it. When I saw that there finally existed an English translation, that too translated by my favourite translator, I had to give it a read!

Things I Liked:

1. The writing was great. I have read one other book by the author- Fun and Funnier and enjoyed it as well. This book was a wonderful mix of humour and wit and a saga of a family whose fortunes are on a downward spiral. An interesting read in so many different ways.

2. Having had seen the movie, I thought that the book will be more of the same. Which it was to an extent. The film is a fairly true to text adaptation of the book. I was quite happy with book to screen adaptation of this one. But there were quite a few notable differences as well, which was nice too. Made the book seem a little new to me- if you what I mean.

3. The book though mostly humourous also deals with some other aspects of family life. Resentments between warring factions of the same family. Fights about property. Dwindling family fortunes. Some very typical family issues. All fairly commonplace but make for very interesting reading.

4. I really, really liked Somlata, she is strong in a very understated way. She quietly goes about changing the family fortune. She sets up a saree shop and helps her good for nothing husband become a responsible family man. She is kind and generous and so relatable and you find yourself rooting for her.

5. It is a personal quirk of mine but I find books about dwindling family fortunes quite interesting. Maybe because I have grown up hearing so many of these stories.

6. The ghost of Roshomoyee was a force of nature. Loud, bitter, opinionated and such a unforgettable character. I loved her. I loved that her bitterness and rage against the world and her family is explained so well. Why wouldn't a child widow be bitter? Why wouldn't she hold on to her bitterness post her death?! Why wouldn't someone who was deprived everything life be an angry ghost?

7. This novella is told from two perspectives- Somlata's and Boshon's. I really liked this aspect of the book.


Rating: 4/5

A fantastic and quick read. I highly recommend!
I also highly recommend the movie. It's available on Amazon Prime and Netflix and I urge you to give it a watch. It is a family favourite!



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