The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


Three generations of women, and one of them won't die! Newlywed Somlata has married into a once wealthy family that is unwilling to accept the fact that someone needs to get a job. When Pishima, the matriarch of the family dies, she decides to stay on this earthly plane in order to torture her ungrateful family. Soon Somlata is visited by the mischievous ghost of Pishima who wants Somlata to do her bidding. As Somlata tries to ignore the ghost and focus on convincing her husband to work, Somlata's role in the family becomes appreciated. Boshon is a modern young woman who does not believe in love and instead wants the freedom to go and do as she pleases. When a childhood crush returns to the village, Boshon may have to contend with matters of the heart. The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is a cheery family drama filled with love, fearlessness, and gold.

— Jen Steele

Description


“A chaotic, furious, extraordinary Bengali confection...Irresistible.” -- Philip Hensher, Man Booker–shortlisted author of The Northern Clemency

“A feminist, fractured fairy tale…this is a story that lingers.” – NPR 

"The book is a riot, a sprightly thriller that will make you not only want to discover more Bengali cultural norms of the vintage era but also create rational stirrings within you to go look up more of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s works." -- World Literature Today


A laugh-out-loud, tug-at-your-heartstrings tale of love, family, and freedom centered around three generations of Bengali women.

Somlata has just married into the dynastic but declining Mitra family. At eighteen, she expects to settle into her role as a devout wife in this traditional, multi-generational family. But then Somlata, wandering the halls of the grand, decaying Mitra mansion, stumbles upon the body of her great aunt-in-law, Pishima.

A child bride widowed at twelve, Pishima has finally passed away at the ripe old age of seventy. But she isn’t letting go just yet. Pishima has long harbored a grudge against the Mitras for keeping her in perpetual widowhood, never allowed to fall in love.. Now, her ghost intends to meddle in their lives, making as much mischief as possible. Pishima gives Somlata the keys to her mysterious box of gold to keep it out of the Mitras’ hands. However, the selfless Somlata, witnessing her new family waste away their wealth to the brink of bankruptcy, has her own ideas.

Boshon is a book-loving, scooter-riding, rebellious teenager who wants nothing to do with the many suitors that ask for her hand. She yearns for freedom and wants to go to college. But when her poor neighbor returns from America she finds herself falling in love. Perhaps Pishima’s yearning spirit lives on in her own her heart?

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny, and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women who are surprising at every turn and defy all expectations. They may be guarding a box of gold, but they are the true treasures in this gem of a novel.

Translated from the Bangla by Arunava Sinha

About the Author


Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay was born in 1935 in present-day Bangladesh. He earned a master’s degree from Calcutta University and worked for some time as a schoolteacher before becoming a journalist and author. The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a much-loved contemporary classic in Bengali, and it was adapted into the film Goynar Baksho in 2013. The first English translation was published in India in 2017.

Praise For…


“A feminist, fractured fairy tale…this is a story that lingers."  — NPR

"Mukhopadhyay’s take on Gothic romance tropes is surprisingly fresh...nothing short of enjoyable." — Chicago Review of Books

"The book is a riot, a sprightly thriller that will make you not only want to discover more Bengali cultural norms of the vintage era but also create rational stirrings within you to go look up more of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s works."
World Literature Today



Product Details
ISBN: 9780062976345
ISBN-10: 0062976346
Publisher: HarperVia
Publication Date: July 6th, 2021
Pages: 160
Language: English