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From the author of Curses in Ivory comes an intriguing tale of greed, politics , a murder that is not quite what it seems? and witchcraft.
Set in contemporary Communist-ruled West Bengal, Black Tongue explores the story of a young servant girl and her employer whom destiny brings together in an intricate dance of love and hate. Street-smart and sassy, 16-year-old Maya has aspirations beyond her means. Then, she disappears. Amrita, Maya?s employer and a social worker, is charged with her death. The ubiquitous Party also begins to investigate the murder, a murder that turns out to be not quite what it seems.
Maya believes that her black tongue has wrecked Amrita?s beautiful world. Hate simmers in her. Amrita, in a bid to save herself, turns to ex-lover Paresh, the minister?s right-hand man. Maya?s brother, Naren, a cadre worker, sees an opportunity to make a fast buck in her disappearance. Is this part of a sinister bigger plan? Or are they shielding somebody?
Through the novel, Anjana Basu explores the contradictions that connect middle-class Kolkata and its urban slums with rural West Bengal. As the events unfold, the story looks askance at a strange, but recurrent socio-political phenomenon typical of West Bengal: pre-modern superstition existing in the interstices of an enlightened political apparatus.
The Prologue to Black Tongue was selected as one of the three best online stories in the 2005 storySouth Million Writers Award for Fiction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anjana Basu was born in Allahabad and studied in London. She works as an advertising consultant in Kolkata. When not churning out copy, she writes short stories and poems and travel pieces for journals like Travel Plus.
Anjana has a book of short stories and a novel to her credit. The BBC has broadcast one of her short stories and her poems have featured in an anthology. She has also been published in The Wolfhead Quarterly, Gowanus, The Blue Moon Review, Australian Short Stories and Recursive Angel. Recently, she was published in Canada?s The Antigonish Review. In 2004, she was a Hawthornden Fellow in the UK, and has recently been featured in The Edinburgh Review, one of England?s oldest literary magazines.