There is nothing to talk about the quality of the story, as this is one of the best stories that focuses on emotions of a woman as a friend, a wife, and above all, a human being. But still, from time to time, this review will be infected by the bewitching beauty of the original story.
I have read the original Bengali years ago, and it is apparent that the translator has done a decent job in bringing out the poetic beauty of Tagore's prose. Tagore's prose has always been deep and heavy, which is evident in the English rendition.
I have seen many translators turn a heavy prose style to a day-to-day language, lucidification, if I have to term it, but here, the translator has not done that, instead stayed true to the text.
To come to the story, it is a wonderful, wonderful story. The subtlety between the relations is so meticulously, yet effortlessly done that one has to wonder how Tagore could know so much about a woman's mind. How tender the friendship is between Charu and Amal, the jealousy when Amal comes close to Manda, how painful it is so see a husband trying to entice his wife after 12 years of marriage and failing to do so, how an overtly simple act can leave deep wound on a heart to the extent of ruining a relation. Here, Charu has to cope with her emotions, which she once shared with Amal, but later had to tackle them on her own. The lack of companion, the intrusion in their secret space, not by any person, but by fame shows us the inevitability of the effect of popularity on a relation.
Apart from some small typographical issues, this is a fine translation, though I’d prefer the notes on Bengali phrases linked at the end of the text, than attached in parenthesis.
To conclude, Lopamudra Banerjee has excelled in the daunting task of translating a Nobel laureate, and I look forward to all her future translations of Bengali works.
Loved every line of it. First I couldn't stop admiring the beauty of Tagore's plot. The three important characters Bupati, Amal and Charulata are portrayed so well. A reader could feel their emotions and thoughts well. Nothing about their mindset is said explicitly, but we could well understand what's going on between the three. Charu's innocence, Amal's adolescence or the busy Bhupati, the way the plot is weaved is awesome and astonishing. The poetic essays each wrote were wonderful. Loved those hyperbolic writings. I would like to thank Lopamudra Banerjee for translating this wonderful piece of Tagore. If not I wouldn't have a chance to read, live and treasure the story of a wonderful household. But I never wished the story would end so soon, I wanted it to be prolonged. Once I read the last line, felt like I will be missing Charu. Wish the author would translate more such wonderful works from Bengali Literature.
The Broken Home by Lopa Banerjee Banerjee is a window to the world fabricated initially by one of the rarest gems in the skies of Indian literature Rabindranath Tagore.
This, to be open and above board, has been my first ever introduction to the world of Bengali writing.
Charulata entices the reader's heart atonce by her innocent charms and her intellectual bent of mind as she blooms from a balika vadhu into a mature beautiful woman.
There's no lack of abundance around her as tells the author but her heart longs for attention from her husband who is too engrossed in his professional pursuits to cast a glance of love at her.
She's an altogether unique fabric not subjected to the hysterical fits, the quirky idiosyncrasies and family dramas women in a neglected state might often restore to. She however yearns to be able to penetrate the thin layers of papers, which wrapped her husband's attention.
Charulata's natural affinity for literature draws her close to Amal, Bhupati's cousin. She acts as a catalyst to his creativity as a writer and ensures that the lovely labyrinths of mutual care and trust remain screened from the outside world.
They can't name the feeling that connects the two so beautifully.
Charulata is in her element the most when she is with Amal. His childish demands, the feigned tussles, the pretended indifference, the mutual concern - all speak of a special kind of a feel which surpasses the grab of words. It's a sublime feel that secretively bonds two hearts. When together, the tedious ways of the world fail to tell upon their nerves. Otherwise without having Amal by her side, she is more or less a fish without water.
The two behave like possessive lovers sweetly ignorant that they do!
Charulata starts pouring her soul into beautiful verses too which acts as another connective thread between the two.
The husband till at a later stage harbours no ill will against her but lovingly ensures her wellbeing and happiness. He absolutely has no inkling to this beautifully sensitive relationship blossoms between the two.
The feelings however remain unspoken, unworded.
Charu begins withering away like a sickly plant as Amal leaves for London to get married. Lopa Banerjee beautifully conveys the feel - " After a massive injury, the nerves are so numbed that the feeling of pain does not seep into the being atonce."
The sharp pangs of separation tear her tender heart to shreds. She tries her best to get over this sheer feeling of wasting away into insignificance by indulging in domestic cares and the like but alas, she may name it or not, it's love that would let her have no peace!
She would love to remain in the castle of his fond memories forever and ever and a day. This is not how life goes though.
How beautifully does the author present her agony-" Thus, Charu built a clandestine tunnel inside the deep, dark trenches hidden beneath her everyday world of domestic chores and responsibilities...She entered through its doors, getting rid of the mask she wore on her domestic life, laying bare her true, unblemished soul..."
Bhupati turns to his hitherto been neglected wife when emotionally and financially ravaged. Her arms are the ultimate refuge to his broken heart.
A broken heart however can't be supposed to heal the other...
The ocean of silence between Charulata and Amal and between Bhupati and Charulata deepens and deepens, all suffering in isolation.
Bhupati eventually is startled by the discovery that his lawfully wedded wife has all this while been camouflaging her real feelings. He in despair, decides to move to Mysore on the pretext of work.
Charulata pleads to be taken along, denied however.
And a little later when he proposes the same, she denies.
It's innumerable disguises!
The language flows rhythmic almost like a song. The tender emotions have been laid threadbare with a felicity of expression. The reader tosses up and down the waves of emotions intense!
The yearning to attain the unattainable, the anxiety, the joy of mutual care, the unnamed longings, the restlessness, the despair, the pangs of guilt and separation...all so movingly portrayed.
Thanks Lopa Banerjee for my first introduction to this world.
The fluent and vibrant translation enhances the soul of the novella. Charu's character resembles Edna of The Awakening. This unusual story of Charulata is woven with subtle intricacies that echo Freud's phrase 'Riddle of a Woman'. Kudos to Lopamudra for succeeding in conveying the essence of Nastanirh. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!
I loved the book and the writing style. the author has done a good job of recreating the old world charm of the time depicted. the heartache, melancholy and loneliness of the protagonist is very beautifully brought out. I hope the author works on more translations so that these beautiful tales can be read by those who dont read bengali.