Travelling and reading – these are two great ways to broaden your horizons, and while West Bengal has given us great writers in the past – Rabindranath Tagore, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, etc., the current crop of Bengali writers are worth reading and admiring too. We’ll take a look at five of them you should read, and even include a small quote from their books (or their interviews) to give you a sniff of what you can expect.

Siddharth Mukherjee

“It remains an astonishing, disturbing fact that in America – a nation where nearly every new drug is subjected to rigorous scrutiny as a potential carcinogen, and even the bare hint of a substance’s link to cancer ignites a firestorm of public hysteria and media anxiety – one of the most potent and common carcinogens known to humans can be freely bought and sold at every corner store for a few dollars.” 
―  The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

Jhumpa Lahiri

“Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy — a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been an ordinary life, only to discover that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity of from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect.”

― The Namesake

Kunal Basu

“As far back as I can remember, my parents and their motley collection of friends — artists, poets, activists, filmmakers — were forever arguing over the things that really mattered: politics and culture. Growing up, they imbued me with a sense of wonder over ideas, and a willingness to embrace this world through my imagination. But perhaps most importantly, it fostered a precious human emotion: empathy,” Kunal Basu said in an interview with The Hindu.

Upamanyu Chatterjee

“He absent-mindedly fondled his crotch and then whipped his hand away. No masturbation, he suddenly decided. He tried to think about this but sustained logical thought on one topic was difficult and unnecessary. No, I am not wasting any semen on Madna. It was an impulse, but he felt that he should record it. In the diary under that date, he wrote, ‘From today no masturbation. Test your will, you bastard’. Then he wondered at his bravado. No masturbation at all? That was impossible.”

— English, August

Amitav Ghosh

“How do you lose a word? Does it vanish into your memory, like an old toy in a cupboard, and lie hidden in the cobwebs and dust, waiting to be cleaned out or rediscovered?”

—The Hungry Tide

Featured image: Pixabay (For representational purposes only)