Each of the twenty-one stories in Matchbox, carefully selected from Ashapurna Debi’s extensive body of work and brilliantly translated from Bengali to retain the original flavour of the language and Debi’s style, highlights the tensions inherent in a society of close-knit and interdependent families.
In ‘Poddolota’s Dream’, a young girl returns to the scene of a harrowing childhood, magnanimous and victorious for reasons quite her own; in ‘Grieving for Oneself’, a midnight scare shows an ailing man precisely how he fits into the world he has worked his life to build; in ‘Glass Beads Diamonds’, a woman attends a wedding reception at her estranged in-laws’, bearing a gift that has cost her far too much. In other stories, a family rues an unexpected disappearance of one of their own, two friends come to terms with a lost friendship, and a couple’s relationship is interrupted the sudden appearance of an old flame.
Written with singular insight, often shocking and always compelling, the stories in Matchbox reveal in brilliant sparks the universal verities embedded within narrow domestic walls and present a literary genius at work.
About the Author
Prasenjit Gupta is the author of A Brown Man and Other Stories, the children's novel To the Blue King's Castle, and a collection of stories translated from Hindi, Indian Errant: Short Stories by Nirmal Verma. A former Fulbright scholar, he writes fiction in English and translates fiction and poetry from Hindi and Bengali into English; he was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for translating the stories in Matchbox.
Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of The Lowland and three previous works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.