Babu Bangladesh! is the most astonishing work of fiction to come out of the Indian Subcontinent in years, and it is most certainly the definitive Bangladesh novel in any language.
Numair A. Choudhury, the author of this extraordinary book, had been working on the novel for over fifteen years, reshaping and refining the narrative even as his country changed.
In an extraordinary twist of fate, he passed away in an accident a couple of months ago, soon after finishing the final draft.
His life’s work is now ready to face the world.
HarperCollins India has acquired Indian Subcontinent rights to Babu Bangladesh! from the literary agency Writer’s Side, and will publish the book under its prestigious literary imprint Fourth Estate in June 2019.
Rahul Soni, Senior Commissioning Editor – Literary, who acquired the book for HarperCollins, had this to say: ‘Babu Bangladesh! is a maximalist masterpiece. Possessed of an imagination as vast as that of the Boom-generation Latin American writers like Marquez and Llosa, with the structural audacity of a Bolaño, and a bold new language all his own, Numair Choudhury’s was an explosive, extraordinary talent. His tragic demise is an immeasurable loss to literature.’
Udayan Mitra, Publisher – Literary at HarperCollins, added, ‘Rarely does a publisher have the good fortune to come across an epic work of imagination as powerful and compelling as Babu Bangladesh! This is a book that readers will read and re-read over the years to come with delight and amazement, and it’s going to define the nation of Bangladesh for today’s readership. It is tragic that this masterpiece is the only novel we’re ever going to have from Numair Choudhury; but at the same time it is an absolute thrill to be able to publish this once-in-a-lifetime novel.’
ABOUT THE BOOK
Bangladesh, 2028. A biographer begins to document the life of an enigmatic and controversial political luminary – Babu, also known as ‘Babu Bangladesh’. In unearthing the story of a man many thought was a generational leader, he begins to uncover the story of a nation itself.
Beginning from the early 1970s, when Bangladesh was birthed, the biographer is faced with the insurmountable challenge of discovering who Babu really was. Was he a tireless, incorruptible politician who fought against the status quo on behalf of the marginalized? Or was he a con who played the long game, disappearing in the aftermath of a massive financial scandal? Was he a historian who dwelt deep on the many pasts of his nation, uncovering secrets like a new hominid species? Or was he just another politician, cursed by a group of tribals after he betrayed their trust?
Buildings acquire consciousness to chart political outcomes, a tree stands defiantly even as marauding troops try to blast it out of existence, tribes of snake- and tree-worshipers compete for regional supremacy, even as fish-humanoids emerge from the water to teach us a lesson … Flitting between fantasy and reality, manoeuvring through the rainforest swamps of Bangladesh with as much as ease as the immigrant colonies of New York, and blurring the boundaries between myth, history and truth, Babu Bangladesh! is an extraordinary work of imagination, a story of a nation as much as a search for one of its heroes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Having studied creative writing at Oberlin College and the University of East Anglia, Dr Numair A. Choudhury did a PhD from the University of Texas, Dallas. He worked on Babu Bangladesh!, his epic first novel, for over fifteen years. Soon after completing the final draft, he passed away in an accident in 2018.
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