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Panty

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3.38  ·  Rating details ·  260 ratings  ·  49 reviews
A woman arrives alone in Kolkata, taking refuge in a deserted apartment while she waits to undergo an unspecified surgery. In this disorienting city, everything seems new and strange: the pavement-dwellers outside her block, the collective displays of religiosity, the power cuts and alarming acts of arson. Her sense of identity already shaken, when she finds a stained pair ...more
Paperback, 122 pages
Published June 6th 2016 by Tilted Axis Press (first published March 1st 2014)
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Warwick "পযানটি ও অনযানয গলপ", apparently…more"প্যানটি ও অন্যান্য গল্প", apparently(less)

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Average rating 3.38  · 
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 ·  260 ratings  ·  49 reviews


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Paul
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This consists of a novella, Panty and a short story Sahana or Shamim. They address love, longing and sexual desire and the working out thereof. Bandyopadhyay describes the genesis of the novel thus:
“If, confined by three or four days of constant, torrential rain, someone were to discover Jack Kerouac beneath the pillow, Milan Kundera and Sylvia Plath on a chair in the veranda, the poet Jibanananda Das on the water-filter, and Salvador Dali and James Joyce when chasing a rat into the larder, and
...more
Viv JM
I'm not quite sure how to rate this book...I liked the dark, feverish, surreal nature of it but I did feel that most of the time I had no clue at all what it was about!! Maybe it's a book that demands a re-read. In any case, I'm leaving it unrated for now.
Manasa
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read more on my blog : https://notchaitea.wordpress.com/

Panty is originally written in Bengali by Sangeeta Bandhyopadhyay (SB) and has been translated into English by Arunava Sinha. SB is described as “the woman who reintroduced hardcore sexuality into Bengali literature”[1] so I was both intrigued and bit wary of a mills and boonesque horror awaiting me. Instead, I was met with a no-nonsense portrayal of contemporary Indian society, which explores female sexuality as only one of its themes.
...more
PS
3.5 stars.

This one has me stumped. On the one hand, so wonderfully atmospheric – I love Kolkata and its vast magnificence with old buildings, memorials, the Hooghly river, Park Street (and I did feel as though I was stuck in a flat observing the city from my balcony while I read this). I also liked the section on secularism and the frank exploration of female sexuality. On the other hand, the dream like structure of the vignettes was disorientating; this deserves a reread. I am interested to
...more
Tonymess
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She “who had no name, no identity, no family, no city or village, no property or assets” arrives in the city in the middle of the night and is put up in a large dark apartment by a mysterious man. The only thing left in the apartment (there is no light, our narrator is in darkness metaphorically and physically), is a pair of stained leopard skin panties. Due to the onset of our protagonist’s period and with no other clothes our mystery woman puts in the panties;

I slipped into the panty.
What I
...more
Tommie
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
The Tilted Axis cover of this book is infinitely better. I can't imagine a piece of experimental fiction written by a man would get this corny a cover. but ignore it because: this prose poem of a book is a series of shuffled, surreal, bruising vignettes. It's provocative and unusual and definitely worthwhile.
Louise
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. An odd little book about some odd women. It made me uncomfortable actually.
Emma Robertson
Mar 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This slight novel contains two stories within it's 122 pages.

The first is the main story Panty and is about a woment with no name, friends, family to mention of arriving and living in a new city in a flat owned by a man we don't know whilst she is awaiting an operation.

The book is based in Kolcata, India and at times as you are absorbed into the poetic prose, you can feel the heat emanating from the page.

The chapters are composed in a unique style out of sequence which give us moments of
...more
Daria
Jan 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Incomprehensible, which made this unpleasant reading. Although I did notice as I got to the end that the chapters are misnumbered: I wonder what would have happened if I had read them in the designated number order, rather than in a traditional left to right fashion. That's an interesting idea - a book that can be read in more than one direction - though unfortunately this wasn't the sort of book that inspired any desire for a re-read.
Robert
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Every year I try to read a few translated novels in order to vary my reading but I always end up being dissatisfied. Panty was no exception.

A lady moves into a flat and finds a used panty in a wardrobe. When she puts it on, she begins to imagine the previous owner who wore it. This leads to a tale fusing sexuality and religion. Eventually the previous owner's life is fused with the current owner until the truth comes out and the offending underwear has to be disposed of.

I didn't mind the
...more
Katie
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, 'the woman who reintroduced hardcore sexuality to Bengali literature.'

This was dark, explicit, and a bit weird (usually positive adjectives for me), however I'm not entirely convinced that the writing was up to par. However, I totally understand that this could be down to the translation and not Bandyopadhyay herself.
jessica
A solid 2.5 rounded up. I did enjoy this. Didn't really understand much of what was going on mind you, but liked some parts all the same.
Alisa
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations
Kind of a weird reading experience. This is actually 2 novellas, but the jacket description on my copy doesn't mention that, and only describes the 2nd story. So I'm reading and it keeps not matching what I expect it to be about. As it turns out, I actually enjoyed the first novella more. Both pieces had surreal aspects, but I found more to engage with in the character in the first, maybe because her details were just a little more colored in. Definitely a book with interesting things to think ...more
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of eyes staring at the cover of this book as I was reading it, and me being me, I could not care less. That is all there is to it in our society I think. A word or a picture that titillates to get people to stare and perhaps even pass judgment. “Panty” also did that in a quiet way and I knew I would get the stares as I would remove it from my bag in public and read it with great delight and joy. To me the book was all about shedding inhibitions and being the person you are – or ...more
Nina 321
A haunting novella of both intensely introspective inner life and fetishistically detailed description of the small things of physical reality. At times the two spheres merge in a kind of magical realism. The chapters are numbered out of order and even rearranging them mentally brings no more chronological clarity. The identities of the nameless main protagonists in Kolkata also remain blurred and dream-like. (view spoiler) ...more
Lanika
I hated this book basically all the way til the end and then I loved it, maybe? I definitely loved the ending, but I don’t know if that redeems the whole book for me? If I’d known before I began reading that this was organised non-chronologically (possibly?) I definitely would not have picked it up. It wasn’t until about the third chapter (ch. 15 or 11) that I had the idea that the numbers heading each section might be chapters arranged non-chronologically (but not entirely, because some numbers ...more
enricocioni
A woman steps into an apartment in Kolkata. It’s nighttime, and none of the light switches work. She finds a mirror, but when she touches her hair her reflection does not replicate the gesture. She showers, and as she’s showering she can hear a phone ringing. The next morning, she finds a stained, abandoned pair of women’s leopard-print underwear at the bottom of a wardrobe. And later that day, a menstrual emergency forces her to replace her own underwear with the leopard-print pair. But as she ...more
Eve
https://figswillfall.blogspot.com/201...

'Neither the prostitute nor the goddess - there was no one who could grant her forgiveness. Both were incomplete entities in her life.'

Our anonymous protagonist has shown up in an abandoned apartment in Kolkata, India, before her unidentified surgery. In the bottom of the wardrobe is an abandoned leopard print panty, holding all of the erotic energy of its previous owner. When our narrator slips into them, she is transformed.

Mysterious and dreamlike,
...more
Surupa Mukhopadhyay
A woman, name unknown, discovers herself and Kolkata through a newfound point of view when she slips into a pair of leopard print pants she discovers in her new apartment. That is pretty much the baseline of the story.

What follows through in the short 128 pages (that is of the Kindle edition that I read) is a self exploration of sexuality, eroticism, religion, poverty and a lot of other underlying complex topics that are not often discussed in the Indian society.

However, the interweaving of the
...more
Amino
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been taking a lot of coffee naps lately. I'll consume variously concentrated amounts of caffeine and retreat to a quiet place to put my head down for 15-20 minutes and once I'm up the energy from my coffee has started to settle in my system.

This book feels like the kind of thing you take in and think about for days, weeks, even months after you've finished reading it. The fragmented style lends itself generously to this particular narrative because you'll recall it in its different
...more
Vidya
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my type of book...the first story about hypnosis is straight forward but 'Panty' was incomprehensible for me...I understood it in bits and pieces...and the gist that it's about the dark desires (sexual) and deep fears of a woman. Only after finishing the book and reading review of fellow goodreaders, did I notice the jumbled up chapter numbers in the story (! Goes to show I was not attentive but it failed to hold my attention)...but frankly I have no desire to re-read it.
Harry Smith
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I rarely manage to read a book in one sitting, even the shorter ones, because I'm just that kind of reader. Panty I couldn't stop reading - all the separate strands, knitted together outside of a chronological order or even identifiable names/characters felt wonderfully at once but surreal and real. Insanity became reality as that too was highlighted as madness. Love, apathy, dissociation, and hurt dripped from each snippet, often simultaneously.
Kate Walton
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india, fiction
3.5. A short novella about a woman who arrives in Kolkata to undergo some kind of surgery. I enjoyed the snippets of city life and learning more about the woman's history, but ultimately I was left frustrated with how little information we were given, both on the woman and what she was going through.
Laura Holroyd
At times I really did like this novel, but overall I just found it a bit difficult to understand because of how experimental it was. I'd still read something else by this author, but I'd want to read it slowly next time and with someone else who I could discuss it with.
Riya
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Keep you hooked but lacks continuity. Reads more like a montage.

The book is good in parts but lacks consistency. Too many plots happening simultaneously. The language is poetic that keeps you hooked.
Jac
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A quick read though unfortunately lackluster read.
Jennifer
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brief, heady and seductive. Like the brief, transformative kiss from an unknown mouth the protagonist experiences, the dream like sequences left me wanting more.
Nicole
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This short novel very disconnected, the story didn’t really live up to its premise, and it felt like toward the end the author had to tie things together but it was too late.
Biblibio
Panty is very much that surreal, hazy short novel that has become so popular within the translated literature community in recent years. The book is a vague, deliberately confusing mish-mash of experiences, overlayed with quiet reflections on sexuality, art, and independence. It's a uniquely written text, certainly, with alternating styles and perspectives that blur the lines between characters, reality, and imagination.

Read full review here: http://biblibio.blogspot.com/2017/08/...
Kell
This thin book manages to do many things, though many of them only partially. It's written in short chapters, most between 1 and 5 pages long, and numbered non-chronologically (I believe the numbers correspond to a timeline but the timeline is disjointed and out of order... and I didn't look too closely to see if my theory is right). There is an "I," a "she," and a "you" character; the first two generally appear in mutually exclusive chapters, while the "you" owns the central apartment, and ...more
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See similar books…
When Panty was first published in Bengali, it created a furore—a reaction that is par for the course for Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay.

Her controversial first novel Shankini made for an explosive debut.

Since then she has published nine novels and over fifty short stories. Also a newspaper columnist and a film critic, Sangeeta lives and writes in Kolkata.
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