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The Meat Market-by Mashiul Alam, Translated by Shabnam Nadiya

The Meat Market-by Mashiul Alam, Translated by Shabnam Nadiya

In the village of Modhupur, the new mother Julekha’s breasts dry up, but to everyone’s consternation, her little baby finds a dog to suckle on; Allah’s angel gives little Khobir fifty takas to buy sweets but his gambling father snatches the money away; journalist Jamil spirals hearing that all communication has been cut off in his hometown of Roop Nagar after a girl is gangraped, hacked, cooked and eaten by young men; Modhu, a penniless farmhand, leaves for Dhaka to drive a rickshaw two weeks a month, while his wife is actively wooed and seduced by his neighbour; Aminul Islam gets slaughtered at a butcher’s shop in broad daylight on protesting the spiking of pure lamb meat with sheep and goat-meat. 

Bordering on hyper-reality, leading Bengali writer Mashiul Alam’s stories hold up a mirror to Bangladeshi society. He effortlessly crosses over into the surreal, which at times, as a means for us to cope and sustain, serves as an escape from the blatant, daily horrors of reality, or turns the reader into a spectator witnessing heightened versions of plausible macabre events. Some stories disrupt our complacency while a few others are immensely tender—but all of them intensely political and rendered in sharp, precise prose. The Meat Market is a dazzling collection marking the arrival of a world-class writer for those who read in English.