Konkaboti: The Extraordinary Journey of a Village Girl
Troilokyonath Mukhopadhyay—Translated from the Bangla by Arnab Bhattacharya
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
Territorial Rights
Orient BlackSwan

Troilokyonath Mukhopadhyay’s tales are excursions into fantasy, where fact confronts the unreal. He belongs to a group of writers (including Sukumar Ray and Lewis Carroll) who elevated nonsense in literature to an art form.

Konkaboti, Troilokyonath’s first novel (1892), begins with the childhood years of the eponymous heroine and Khetu, a boy from her village, who goes to Kolkata to study. In time, their mothers want them to marry, but Konkaboti’s avaricious father plans her wedding with an aged zamindar. The prospect appals her and she falls seriously ill.

Konka and Khetu undergo amazing experiences, including encounters with ghosts, a trip to the moon and back, and the ‘death’ of both protagonists. But matters are resolved through a major twist in the tail of the narrative. The effortlessly inventive goings-on compel readers to suspend their disbelief.

Translator Arnab Bhattacharya explains in a perceptive Afterword why Troilokyonath’s book deserves a wider readership for it travels to imagined worlds scarcely ever portrayed in early Indian fiction.

Troilokyonath Mukhopadhyay—Translated from the Bangla by Arnab Bhattacharya
Translator’s Preface ix

A Biographical Note on the Author xi

A Note on the Translation xv

Glossary of Non-English Words/Phrases xix


Book I

1. An Old Yarn 3

2. Kusumghati 4

3. Tonu Roy 6

4. Khetu 11

5. Nironjon 17

6. Farewell 21

7. Konkaboti 26

8. The Boy and the Girl 30

9. Meni 34

10. Bou-didi 38

11. A Matrimonial Proposal 42

12. Shnareshwor 48

13. Trouble Brewing 52

14. About Godadhor 58

15. Konkaboti’s Ailment 65

Book II

1. The Boat 73

2. Underwater 76

3. The Royal Robe 80

4. The Milkwoman 86

5. The Burning Ghat 90

6. The Tiger 96

7. In the Forest 104

8. The In-laws 109

9. The Root 113

10. The Theft 119

11. The Ghost Company 126

12. Frog Sahib 137

13. Putrid Water 145

14. The Master Mosquito 152

15. Khorbur 159

16. The Ogre 165

17. The Wife of the Stars 174

18. The Formidable Sepoy 178

19. The Sati on the Pyre 187

Conclusion 196
Afterword from the Translator: About the Novel 205

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