152 pages, Rs. 195
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is an award-winning Bengali novelist based in Kolkata. My Paper Half, Soma Das’s translation of Mukhopadhyay’s Kagojer Bou, tells the story of Upal, a poor man in Kolkata driven by deprivation to trample his self-respect in return for food and a little money. Upal clings like a parasite to his childhood friend Subinoy. Subinoy orders Upal to seduce his wife in order to pave the way for an extra-marital affair. Mukhopadhyay reveals occasional flashes of conscience and dignity within Upal, which inevitably bow down before the protagonist’s inexhaustible greed.