The Loneliness of Hira Barua
Arupa Patangia Kalita
Translated by Ranjita Biswas
An extraordinary, ever-relevant collection of stories from one of Assam’s greatest living writers.
Hira Barua, an ageing widow living in a conflict-ridden region of Assam with her beloved Tibetan spaniel fears she is beginning to resemble a lonely Englishwoman from her past. A vicious sexual assault by the invading military drives a group of women into a shelter home. On a fateful night, a group of prostitutes make an extraordinary sacrifice for the safety of their companions.
In these, and thirteen other piercing, intimate portraits, women navigate family, violence, trauma, ambition and domesticity with caution, grace and quiet resilience.
Originally published as Mariam Austin othoba Hira Barua, this remarkable collection by one of Assam’s finest living writers won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014. In this brilliant English translation, Arupa Patangia Kalita’s powerful voice is brought to fresh and vivid life. Written in a variety of styles, from gritty social realism, folklore to magical realism, The Loneliness of Hira Barua is a modern classic of Indian literature.
‘Patangia’s fiction, over the last two decades, has repeatedly knocked on the doors of [our] conscience’ — Open