As the dead awakened

By Rifat Munim

Shaheen Akhtar’s Talash gives the birangonas a voice they were always denied

Shaheen Akhtar is not a prolific writer. Her fiction does not hit the Ekushey Boi Mela every year. In her 25-year-long literary career, she has authored only four novels. Her first book was a collection of short stories, which came out in 1997 and was followed by three more. One might call her stories a bit esoteric, at times like Wasi Ahmed’s, but no one would dare to call them popular. On the contrary, they offer recalcitrant interpretations of history, swerving sharply from the traditionally accepted ones.

To understand the sheer range of her literary gifts, readers had to wait till 2004, the year which saw the publication of her second novel Talash (The Search). Unlike many novels written by avowedly feminist writers, Shaheen’s novel barely has any idealised women characters: Women are seen as much objectively as men and not all the men are equally greedy. The story is told mainly from a woman’s point of view, which, when shifts, is passed on to another or several women. All in all, the novel departs from the trend that glorifies the War, presenting readers with a different picture of it altogether. Read more

Source: Dhaka Tribune