A Ballad of Remittent Fever - Ashoke Mukhopadhay

A Ballad of Remittent Fever

Ashoke Mukhopadhay

Aleph Book Company

Translated by Arunava Sinha

A family of extraordinary physicians who battle epidemics, deadly diseases, love and loss, in the city of dichotomies that is Calcutta.

In the early years of the twentieth century, Calcutta is grappling with deadly diseases such as the plague, cholera, typhoid, malaria, and kala-azar caused by viruses, bacteria, and other infectious organisms. The populace is restive under British rule, and World War I looms large on the horizon. Set against this tumultuous backdrop, is an indelible tale of loss, hope, love, and mortality.

 Dr Dwarikanath Ghoshal is one of the city’s most celebrated physicians. Four generations of Ghoshals continue to infuse their scientific temper and liberal values into the lives of people around them. There is Dwarikanath’s headstrong son, Kritindranath Ghoshal, who as soon as he acquires his medical degree joins the Bengal Ambulance Corps and sets off for the battlefield in Mesopotamia during World War I. There is also his soulmate, his fiery cousin Madhumadhabi, who trains  to be an Ayurvedic doctor, and is heartbroken when Kritindranath is married off. Equally compelling are Dwarikanath’s wife, Amodini, his grandson, Punyendranath, his great-grandson, Dwijottam, and a myriad other brilliantly imagined characters who play out their lives in the course of the novel, fighting diseases, social mores, and trying to cope with the enormous, convulsive changes the city and country are experiencing.

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About the author

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Ashoke Mukhopadhay

Ashoke Mukhopadhyay, an MBA (Calcutta University) and a corporate communications professional, had made a foray in the arena of literature with a host of startling researched-based articles and insightful documentations. Mukhopadhyay won the coveted Ananda Snowcem Award twice for his articles. Mukhopadhyay's penchant for research and finer details are reflected in his novels--Agnipurush (Bio fiction based on the not-so-known revolutionary nationalist of 1906, Ullaskar Dutt), Atta N'tar Surya (a docu-novel portraying the Naxalite Movement in the 1970s, its downfall and subversions).

Both the novels turned out to be bestsellers, earned rave reviews and were well-accepted by the Bengal literati.

 Mukhopadhyay's zeal for seamless stitching of facts with the imagination has been best reflected in his latest novel Abiram Jwarer Roopkatha (translated by Arunava Sinha as 'A Ballad of Remittent Fever'), which, according to the author, 'is the outcome of 5-year labour of love'.


Arunava Sinha

Arunava Sinha is an award-winning translator of Bengali fiction, non-fiction and poetry into English. Over 55 of his translations have been published so far in India, and several of them in the UK and the USA. He teaches Creative Writing at Ashoka University, and is the Books Editor of the politics and culture magazine Scroll.in. His recent published translations include Ashoke Mukhopadhyay's A Ballad of Remittent Fever, Taslima Nasreen's Shameless, Bani Basu's Moom, and Desire for Fire: An Anthology of Modern Bengali Poetry. His translation of Manoranjan Byapari's There's Gunpowder in the Air was shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2019.