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Anita Agnihotri, Arunava Sinha (Translated by)


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Seventeen, written by acclaimed Bengali author Anita Agnihotri, brings together the best of more than one hundred pieces of her published short fiction. By turns intense, brittle, angry, sad, and torn apart in conflict, the stories here bring out the different faces of human hardship and explore an India that is still largely unknown. Set in both cities and villages, in small-town India and in international suburbia, the pieces run the gamut of experiences—both everyday and extraordinary. From personal relationships set against a background of turmoil to social truths told through the unique lives of individuals, each of these stories paints a picture of human fragility.

Presented here in English for the first time by award-winning translator Arunava Singh, readers encounter a brother and sister who visit the unique crater-lake that their dead, estranged mother had written to them about in her letters. We find a middle-class employee whose orderly life is turned upside down when his employer holds back his paycheck without an explanation. And we find the employees of a forgotten outpost in a sun-baked town who consider mass suicide when they realize there is no hope of survival. From start to finish, there’s no question here: Seventeen is literary craftsmanship at its best.

Praise For Seventeen

“An excellent selection of seventeen stories, nearly all of which are urgently told and precise in their direction. Each story crackles with intensity and purpose, and Sinha’s beautiful, award winning translation allows English readers to enjoy these stories in a way that feels authentic to their primarily Indian locations and characters. Though the stories feature bruising emotions and wonderfully complicated relationships, it is equally thrilling to simply sit back and enjoy Agnihotri’s descriptions of color, weather, landscapes, cityscapes, food and drink, all of which have been shepherded beautifully and authentically from Bengali to English by Sinha.”
— Spectrum Culture

“Combining a poet’s eye for capturing images through evocative language and a novelist’s ear for believable dialogue, Indian writer Agnihotri captivates the imagination with this collection of short stories. Composed of pieces drawn from the fabric of everyday life in India, Seventeen is both a compelling snapshot of contemporary India and universal in its appeal to readers of great fiction.”
— World Literature Today

Zubaan Books, 9789381017241, 250pp.

Publication Date: July 15, 2016

About the Author

Anita Agnihotri is a Bengali writer. She is the author of more than twenty-five books. Arunava Sinha is an award-winning translator of more than thirty books. He lives and works in New Delhi.