My Kind of Girl, 2008 translation by Arunava Sinha, published 2010 by Archipelago Books. Originally Moner Moto Meye, published 1951 by Deb Sahitya Kutir publishing firm.
The narrative structure of this simple book is now considered a cliché but perhaps in 1951 it was more acceptable. Four very different travelers are stranded in the waiting room at Tundla station waiting for the train which is held up by a derailment near Aligarh. In order to pass the hours in the freezing station, the four men decide to exchange stories. The subject is love.
Despite the narrative simplicity, each of these stories is almost perfect. I certainly admire the author’s writing but we also have to give the translator credit. Being a smelly old westerner, I maintain an extra level of appreciation since the stories are dealing with an unfamiliar country and its social customs. I may know a lot about India and especially the history of India, but that’s very different from getting down to the thoughts and actions of two or three people, their relationships, their emotions.
This was a very different book for me, one that might be considered well-outside my normal transgressive approach to literature, but I really enjoyed it and recommend it to all readers.