My Kind of Girl

Buddhadeva Bose

translated from the Bengali by Arunava Sinha
Hesperus 2011 [1951]
A book review by Danny Yee © 2016
An accident on the train line from Agra to Calcutta results in four men having to spend the night in the first class waiting room, where, inspired by a passing glimpse of a young couple, they tell one another stories of youthful love.
"Is the memory of happiness that has passed, happy or sad?"
"There's no one who has never liked someone. What happened afterwards is not the point, that liking is what counts. Maybe it's memory, too, that counts. Some kind of memory..."

A powerful contractor recounts the story of his passion for, obsession with, and rejection by the poor but proud daughter of the scholarly family next door. A respected Delhi bureaucrat tells of growing up in a small Bengali town and of a mutual love that never went anywhere but which has survived marriages to others and occasional meetings. A doctor describes his involvement with an amateur theatrical group and his marriage to one of the actresses, after she was rejected by his friend. And a writer recounts how he and two friends had a childhood crush on a girl which continued after her marriage and down to her early death.

These four stories are essentially self-contained, but the frame provides a context for memory and narration and, in the portraits of the protagonists and the manner of their story-telling, a kind of afterword. That is not enough to make My Kind of Girl an integrated novel, and it lacks any real depth of ideas. The framing story is compelling in its own right, however, and together with the four embedded stories makes for an engaging read.

Note: My Kind of Girl was originally published in 1951, as Moner Mato Meye.

July 2016

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%T My Kind of Girl
%A Bose, Buddhadeva
%M Bengali
%F Sinha, Arunava
%I Hesperus
%D 2011 [1951]
%O paperback
%G ISBN-13 9781843918561
%P 129pp