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The Yogini by Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, translated by Arunava Sinha [in Booklist]

Not yet married a year, Homi and her husband are passionately in love. Beyond being happy at home, Homi thrives at her high-power position at a television studio. The pair share a comfortable, compatible existence in Kolkata, occasionally interrupted by extended familial demands.

And then Homi is confronted by a stranger with matted locks, who addresses her ironically as “Empress,” even as he insists “there is no such thing as free will here.” She’s suddenly, merely, a victim of fate – made inescapable by familial, societal, even her own expectations of her stifling roles as daughter, wife, woman. The mysterious yogi repeatedly appears where he couldn’t possibly be while his pronouncements destroy any sense of agency as her marriage, career, her very sanity implode.

Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay is considered one of India’s preeminent Bengali writers; with over a dozen novels and dozens of short stories, she’s been dubbed India’s Elena Ferrante by British writer Niven Govinden. Her latest arrives stateside having won a UK PEN Translates award, thanks to the prolific and award-winning Arunava Sinha, who remains Bandyopadhyay’s four-time translator of choice.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist Online, June 19, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2009 (India), 2019 (United States)


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