Traces of Boots on Tongue
Drawing influences from Indian folktales, French existentialism, and the Bengali Hungryalist movement, Rajkamal Chaudhary’s œuvre is like a secret back alley in an old city—not completely forgotten but existing only for the few. Even though Chaudhary also wrote in Maithili and Bengali, it was his writings in Hindi that established him as the bold new experimentalist of Indian literature. His India of the 1950 and 60s is populated with hopeless literature professors, scattered alcohol bottles, prostitutes, hysteria patients, and sell-out painters. His unconventional life and writing place him outside the mainstream, and so he remains as uncategorizable as the characters and lives he wrote about. Bringing together twelve of his most representative short stories, translated for the first time in English, Traces of Boots on Tongue and Other Stories allows a glimpse into the early decades of independent India and its weariness, which many readers will find in today’s India as well.
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