Of Ghosts and Other Perils brings together seven of the author’s stories not translated before. ‘Lullu’ is a ‘civilised, modern’ ghost who steals a married woman from Delhi and hides her in a chamber below a lake, but Amir, her husband, with the help of a weaver-singer, an astrologer, an exorcist, and other ghosts rescues her by making Lullu an opium-addict. In ‘Nayanchand’s Business’ we find a tale of a bull under orders of his ex-owner about to wreak havoc as he makes Yama, the god of the netherworld, and his assistant Chitragupta run in panic to escape being gored. Some of the situations—as when the torso of a man is joined by a quack doctor to the rear portion of a cow after an accident (‘Another Story by Damarudhar’)—produce more fun and dramatic turning points than the reader usually expects.
Troilokyanath’s fiction also has elements of social criticism tinged with satire though with a light touch. And as the translator, Arnab Bhattacharya, points out in a scholarly Afterword, Troilokyanath has been called with some justification a magic realist, a pioneer in Bangla writing.
Troilokyanath Mukhopadhyay (1847–1919) was one of the foremost writers of fiction in nineteenth-century Bengal. According to some, he was an early proponent of the magic realist genre in Bengal.
Arnab Bhattacharya is a translator and a critic based in Kolkata, and an author/editor of books.
A Note on the Translation
Glossary of Non-English Words/Phrases
Afterword from the Translator