The Black Magic Women
- Author: Moushumi Kandali, Parbina Rashid
- Publisher: Penguin
- ISBN: 9780143451105
In the recent past, many writers have acquainted readers with the composite culture of Assam. Moushumi Kandali makes a similar attempt in The Black Magic Women, but with a stark difference. She brings her characters out of Assam and places them in the mainstream, capturing their struggle to retain their inherent 'Assameseness' as they try to assimilate into the larger society.
The stories makes one pause, think and debate issues that range from racial discrimination ('The Fireflies Outside of the Frame') to sexual harassment ('The Hyenas and Coach Number One', 'Kalindi, Your Black Waters . . . ') to the existential and ideological dilemma induced by the state's complex sociopolitical scenario ('The Final Leap of the Salmon'). The title story is revealing of how mainstream India perceives Assamese women-as powered with the art of seduction and black magic-as a result of which they face social discrimination that can range from racial slurs to physical abuse.
The writer ventures into a surrealistic mode, using a generous sprinkle of fable, myth and metaphors to deliver a powerful punch. With all the shades of emotion these ten stories from the North-east evoke, the reader cannot remain a passive observer.