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The Runaway Boy

The Runaway Boy

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 This powerful trilogy of semi-autobiographical novels begins in East Pakistan. It tells the story of little Jibon, who arrives at a refugee camp in West Bengal in the arms of his Dalit parents escaping from the Muslim-majority nation. He grows up perpetually hungry for hot rice in the camp where the treatment meted out to dispossessed families like his is deplorable. When he is barely thirteen, Jibon runs away to Calcutta because he has heard that money flies in the air in the big city. His wildly innocent imagination leads him to believe that he can go out into the world, find work and bring back food for his starving siblings and clothes for his mother whose only sari is in tatters. And once he leaves home, through the travels of this starving, bewildered but gritty boy, we witness a newly independent India as it grapples with communalism and grave disparities of all kinds. About the Author Manoranjan Byapari writes in Bengali. Some of his important works include Chhera Chhera Jibon, Ittibrite Chandal Jibon and the Chandal Jibon trilogy. He taught himself to read and write at the age of twenty-four when he was in prison. He has worked as a rickshaw-puller, a sweeper and a porter. Until 2018, he was working as a cook at the Hellen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Blind in West Bengal. In 2018, the English translation of his memoir, Ittibrite Chandal Jibon (Interrogating My Chandal Life), received the Hindu Prize for non-fiction. In 2019, he was awarded the Gateway Lit Fest Writer of the Year Prize. Also, the English translation of his novel Batashe Baruder Gandha (There’s Gunpowder in the Air) was shortlisted for the JCB Prize 2019, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019, the Crossword Prize 2019 and the Mathrubhumi Book of the Year Prize 2020. The English translation of his novel Chhera Chhera Jibon (Imaan) was shortlisted for the JCB Prize 2022. He also received the Shakti Bhatt Prize this year for his body of work. In 2021, Byapari became a member of the Bengal Legislative Assembly. About the Translator V. Ramaswamy is a literary translator of voices from the margins. His previous translations include The Golden Gandhi Statue from America: Early Stories, Wild Animals Prohibited: Stories, Anti-stories and This Could Have Become Ramayan Chamar’s Tale: Two Anti-Novels (shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award, 2019), all by the anti-establishment Bengali writer, Subimal Misra. He was awarded the inaugural Literature Across Frontiers-Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship at Aberystwyth University to translate the Chandal Jibon novels.

Tagged with:

Bengali / fiction / indian / Manoranjan Byapari / translation / V. Ramaswamy /