Sadiqur Rahman reviews some of the recent books by Non-Resident Bangladeshi authors currently available at the Ekushey Boi Mela
The Ekushey Boi Mela is the only time of the year when a huge number of Bengali books are published and also bought by thousands of book-lovers in the country. The authors, publishers, editors and other professionals related to the publication houses are therefore extremely busy during the two to three months prior to February.
While having a manuscript prepared and approved by a publisher will prove to be a formidable feat for most budding Bangla-speaking writers in the country, it is an even greater task for authors who are not in the country but still nurture the dream of having his/her book published and showcased during the Ekushey Boi Mela.
New Age Xtra has learnt that most of these Bangladeshi expatriates cannot usually get in touch with the publishers in the country. Even if they do and they manage to have their manuscripts approved, the publication costs are usually borne by the writers themselves as the publishers more than often do not want to take risks on books by new authors.
Despite all these roadblocks, books written by Bangladeshi expatriates are often sold at the stalls of the Ekushey Boi Mela. This year was no different as New Age Xtra found a wide range of books including poetry, fiction, short story collections etc. by Bangladeshi expatriates being sold by various publishers.
Shakespeare theke Keats, Robert Frost theke Eliot
By Rahman M. Mahbub
Publisher: Adorn Publication
Besides teaching English literature at university level, Rahman M. Mahbub, who is in Jordan now for higher studies, writes regularly. Mahbub has been researching and translating English poems to Bangla over the past 15 years. In the latest book, Mahbub presents some 51 poems by 15 greatest English poets.
Through his translations, Mahbub shares his perspective of the aesthetic values and arts related to classical poetry. Readers will find Shakespeare’s sonnets in the continuation of humane love, John Donne’s poems of love, William Wordsworth in mysterious and illustrious ambience and so on. Readers can also read poems by ST Colerige, Lord Byron, John Keats, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, WB Yeats, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney and T S Eliot in this book.
The original poems are printed beside the Bangla translation in the book. Hence readers of all ages can benefit from this book.
Martim Moniz, a Portuguese Christian crusader, sacrificed his life in 1147 during the siege of Sao Jorge Castle, Lisbon. The unsung hero’s sacrifice helped his co-fighters invade the castle and overthrow the Moorish or Muslim overlords.
During a visit to a place named after the legend Martim Moniz in Portugal, Ashraf Ahmed, a Bangladeshi expatriate living in the United States, researched on the individual and decided to present him from other angles.
In this novel, Ashraf depicts Martim in the historical background as a romantic hero rather than highlighting his warrior identity. Martim’s sense of being dead influences the inevitable historical consequences of modern Portugal.
In the novel, Ashraf interestingly creates two romantic couples, who represent historic and contemporary times, while continuing the parallel storyline. Ashraf creatively links the historical influence of Portugal on the Bangladeshi expatriates in the country.
Syed Iqbal, a cultural enthusiast, is basically a painter and writer. In his decades-long career, his paintings have been exhibited in more than 60 shows organised in Bangladesh and abroad. Simultaneously, he writes for children and adults. So far, Iqbal has authored 30 books of novel and short story collections.
Though residing in Canada, Iqbal can hardly be called an expatriate as he regularly visits his motherland.
Uria Uria Jai is a travel-based novel by Iqbal, featuring air travel from Toronto, Canada to Frankfurt, Germany. The storyteller highlights one Tillottoma Sen, a mother of Bangladesh, who desperately fights against all odds in Frankfurt to search for her missing daughter.
Purabi Basu, a scientist in Colorado, United States, has been a prolific and creative writer for nearly four decades. She is regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the Bangla short story in recent times, having been awarded with Ananya Shahitya Puraskar and Bangla Academy Puraskar. Her themes of choice are varied from contemporary issues on women’s condition to communal coexistence.
The short story collection series by Anyaprakash publishing house brings 10 short stories by Purabi, written during different stages of her life abroad. New readers can taste Purabi’s perception on women’s right, conjugal life, memories of home in a foreign land, poverty, terror, relationship between man and woman and its changing nature in this techno-era, personal freedom and other contemporary issues.