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Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories

$11.99$22.95

short fiction by Rummana Chowdhury

Print: 978-1-77133-797-7 – $22.95
ePUB: 978-1-77133-798-4 – $11.99
PDF: 978-1-77133-799-1 – $11.99

88 Pages
December 7, 2021

Winner, 2022 IPPY Bronze Medal for Multicultural Fiction
Finalist, 2022 International Book Awards – Multicultural Fiction

In Dusk in the Frog Pond, Rummana Chowdhury presents new narratives about the lived realities of Muslim women as they navigate life, be it in Bangladesh, on the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto or along the riotous waves of the Atlantic in New York. These eight powerful stories follow a series of intrepid Bangladeshi women as they confront the issues of migration, displacement, nostalgia, cultural assimilation, marriage and—above all—identity and loneliness. Despite the challenges facing them, these compelling characters seek out happiness, whether in arranged marriages, romantic relationships or in shaping their individual destinies. Each tale is a depiction of the tensions, active as well as simmering, between culture, tradition and history and the modern world. The collection is a compendium of both joy and sorrow, never forgetting the eternally burning fire of hope that lives and dies within all of us.

“Rummana Chowdhury has carefully crafted the short stories in this book. The emotions of women, the Liberation War of Bangladesh, the dilemma of diaspora and many other sentiments have been expressed with her lucid pen. Really worth reading!”
—Nashid Kamal, academic, author, singer

“Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories makes a thoughtful contribution to the growing literary collective of immigrant women’s experiences, as well as adding a new facet to the substantial creative output of Rummana Chowdhury. These provocative stories follow Bangladeshi women as they navigate their roles and responsibilities as wives and mothers, through cultural displacement, psychological trauma and more, as they seek personal fulfilment and some control over their own destinies.”
—Kathleen M. O’Connell, author of Rabindranath Tagore: The Poet as Educator

“Fiction rich in ideas and ambience for one who loves journeying into a literary landscape on a quiet weekend. Rummana Chowdhury gives us one more treasure of stories rooted in heritage. Unputdownable, in simple terms.”
—Syed Badrul Ahsan, independent journalist and historian

 

Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories

Rummana Chowdhury is the author of forty-three books, in both Bengali and English, which include poetry, short stories, novels, and essays. She is a leading global commentator on issues of migration that pertain to the South Asian Diaspora. She has received several notable awards including Woman of the Year, 2010, Canada, and Best Writer and Translator for Diaspora Literature, Ontario Bengali Cultural Society, 2016. She has also received several awards for her contributions to Bengali, English and Diasporic literature and translation work, including, most recently, the Kobi Jasim Uddin Award, 2019, and the Bangladesh Lekhika Shongho Award for Literature and Translation, 2017. She immigrated to Canada in 1982 and for the past thirty years has worked as an accredited interpreter/ translator. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario. Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories is her new collection of short stories. www.rummanachowdhury.ca

1 review for Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories

  1. Inanna Admin

    The invisible colours of yearning for home
    Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories by Rummana Chowdhury
    reviewed by Shejuti Pasha
    The Daily Star – May 26, 2022
    https://www.thedailystar.net/daily-star-books/news/the-invisible-colours-yearning-home-3032176

    Through eight short stories, Rummana Chowdhury’s Dusk in the Frog Pond and Other Stories (‎Inanna Publications, Toronto, 2021) brings to light instances of love, loss, solitude, migration and nostalgia as perceived in today’s society. The tales span across borders and boundaries and are mostly set in modern, urban cities like New York, Toronto and our home country, Bangladesh.

    Women play central roles in the narratives and Rummana Chowdhury paints their happiness and suffering in words as they assume the roles of mothers, daughters and wives. The characters in these stories navigate life’s hardships and uncertainties and each of them share a sense of strength and weakness.

    One of the common underlying themes in the stories is the concept of arranged marriage and the author uses this as a medium to introduce the idea of travelling and migration. For instance, in the second story, Mou travels to New York right after her marriage and likewise, in “Shadow Over The Henna Tree,” Helen, another woman from Bangladesh, moves to Canada to stay with her husband when her daughter turns three.

    However, migration does not bring bliss to these women and they struggle with a loss of identity and absence of belongingness. This makes the stories a prominent part of existing diasporic literature and we can see the characters constantly struggling with displacement and exile. In “Rodela’s Invisible Colours”, the eponymous protagonist struggles to settle into her old life in Toronto after a solo trip to Kolkata and longs for her carefree days in Bangladesh. “The refreshingly sweet, sultry breeze in the month of Falgun haunted her. She ached to return”, Chowdhury writes. She feels abandoned and isolated in her marriage and is blown away like a flower in the wind when love knocks on her door. Yet, loneliness and despair do not leave Rodela. Her story ends with the lines, “Living without love, without being loved, would be a long, hard path, [however,] she had to live for herself for today, and for the days to come.”

    These strong, hopeful women still endeavour to find happiness in spite of their obstacles and the author artfully chooses to show their vulnerability alongside their fights. This human quality makes them relatable to readers. Their apparent solitude makes room for another recurrent theme in the stories—nostalgia. A strong yearning to return home is prominent among these women who have migrated abroad through arranged unions. “Nostalgia set in. There was no place in this world like Dhaka, Brishti felt like bowing her head to her beloved motherland”, Chowdhury writes in “Monsoon Breeze.”

    Although most of the stories carry the idea of troubled nuptials, one story stands out among them all. It shares its name with the book’s title and recounts the story of the Liberation War. The story begins with a playful village girl, Ruby, who is eagerly waiting for her husband. Munir works in the city. “Ruby danced as she crossed one paddy bank to another. Her feet were nimble and swift and her spirits high.”

    But what begins on a note of excitement and anticipation soon takes a grave turn as the peaceful village where the couple resides is torn apart by violence and conflict. War breaks out in the country; Munir joins the freedom fighters and loyally fights for his country. His world never remains the same. One night, while he is away on an operation, a group of West Pakistani soldiers invade his home and brutally torture his mother and wife. Although Ruby survives the horrific incident, she now has her own battles to fight. Ruby is reminded of the dreadful secret. She is agonised by her terrible fate just like Rodela and Ayesha, who were clasped by their own destinies just like the frog pond that is consumed by darkness at dusk.

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