Thursday, August 30, 2018

River of Flesh and Other Stories by Ruchira Gupta

River of Flesh and Other Stories:
The Prostituted Woman in Indian Short Fiction
by Ruchira Gupta

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 2016
Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books
Genre: Short stories, Women's Studies, India
Paperback: 272
Rating: 4

'River of Flesh and Other Stories' brings together twenty-one stories about trafficked and prostituted women by some of India's most celebrated writers-Amrita Pritam, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Indira Goswami, Ismat Chughtai, J. P. Das, Kamala Das, Kamleshwar, Krishan Chander, Munshi Premchand, Nabendu Ghosh, Qurratulain Hyder, Saadat Hasan Manto and Siddique Alam, among others. Jugnu, in Kamleshwar's 'River of Flesh' ('Maas ka Darya')-stares at a lifetime of servitude as age and disease take hold; Ismat Chughtai creates the unforgettable character of Lajo in 'The Housewife', a carefree young woman who must conform to society's idea of decency, or risk being branded a whore; in 'Heeng-Kochuri', by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, a boy growing up near a red-light area discovers the adult world of patrons, connoisseurs and customers-as well as savouries offered to young boys as bribe; and in Manisha Kulshrestha's 'Kalindi', a son looks in through a window and his life falls to pieces around him. An unprecedented anthology-for its subject, as well as for the range of authors and translators who are part of it-'River of Flesh and Other Stories' offers a harsh indictment of this practice of human slavery, too often justified-and occasionally glorified-as the 'world's oldest profession'.

My two-bits:

Tough reading. This is a set of sad and painful stories that must be shared to get the word out.


* part of World Reads challenge - India (here)


  1. Yeah, this would be awful to read, but one that would be worth it, too.

  2. I feel like I would at least tear-up with this one!


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