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The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  788 ratings  ·  204 reviews
A laugh-out-loud, tug-at-your-heartstrings tale of love, family, and freedom centered around three generations of Bengali women.

Somlata has just married into the dynastic but declining Mitra family. At eighteen, she expects to settle into her role as a devout wife in this traditional, multi-generational family. But then Somlata, wandering the halls of the grand, decaying M
Kindle Edition, 79 pages
Published August 19th 2017 by BEE Books
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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What a great, lovely, quirky, fun, sad & interesting book to read!!
Very recommended!
And oh, I think I reached the end of my 2019 challenge, yeah! :-)

This is the story of Somlata, who marries at a young age into a noble Bengali family that used to be very rich and now has to pawn off all family valuables to keep up appearances. When Pishima, the embittered matriarch dies, Somlata is the first to discover her body, and her sharptongued ghost, who tells her to hide her gold from the family's prying
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Mitras used to be zamindars, feudal landlords in East Bengali but now household funds were dwindling. " The household runs with the money that comes from selling land and gold...the men in the family were not keen on employment or business...I have never considered employment-I can't be a clerk...I can't start a business-that's for shopkeepers".

When Somlata married Fuchu, she was eighteen, he was thirty-two. According to Somlata, " parents were so poor that it would be an indulgence to
This is a short but fabulously entertaining read about women from different generations providing a thought provoking picture of their lives, culture, social change, family, and patriarchy. The smart and shrewd 18 year old Somlata marries into what her impoverished family believed is an upstanding, reputable and wealthy Bengali family, the Mitras. Only this turns out to be far from the truth, with the men unwilling to engage in work, believing it is beneath them. The family has kept up appearanc ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
This book is such a masterpiece! I feel more so because it's been translated so well. Well done!

First of all, the writing! It sucked me in right away! It's written without any kind of pretension and it is what it is kind of delivery that it's almost impossible to put down the book and do anything else. It's been quite a while since I read something this appealing, enthralling and enticing. Again, heartfelt appreciation to the translation.

I like the plot so much. I really cannot believe how relev
Resh (The Book Satchel)
Rating : 4.5/5

One of those novels where much is packed in a short book. I really enjoyed the book. It shows 3 generations of women — a widow aunt who dies and later haunts a young bride as a ghost, a new bride into the family of crumpling wealth, and the daughter. It shows women and the power they hold in different generations. The aunt is revered for her treasure box even though she is a widow (she became a widow at 12 and has since known no pleasure, in body or through food). The new wife is i
Padmaja (thebookishtales)
I read this book in a single sitting and I loved every minute of it 😍
A masterpiece of a novella, only a 140 pages long, but it conveys so much in such less number of pages.
Young Somlata is married into a once wealthy zamindar family, but are not so wealthy anymore and have to sell their land and gold to make ends meet. There is a belief in the house that men don't have to work, so they live off their dwindling riches and just loiter around the whole day.
Somlata is unable to witness the decline
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poc-author
This was delightful
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copies
A quick, quirky and entertaining read The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is a short book, less than 200 pages but has plenty to say. It's about three generations of women - a bitter child widow great aunt Pishima, the daughter in law, Somlata, gentle yet headstrong and a devout wife, and her daughter Boshon, a rebellious, book loving fierce feminist teenager. There is a bit of magical realism too that works beautifully with the storyline.

Somlata, a smart young girl marries into a wealthy, aristocratic fa
The title says it all, just not with the usual understandings!

Cautionary tale, mythology, philosophical reader, a traditional story feminist? Maybe all, some or. One of the above. One thing is true, this is definitely not funny.
Kismet? Reincarnation? Or making choices pushed on by changing times, a ghost, your own set of beliefs, or simple taking up the mantle of survival?
Bride Somlata marries into the Mitra family. She is from a poor but determined family. Traits that will stand her and her new
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story takes the readers back in time to the post-Independence era. Set in a feudal family with dwindling resources, we meet three women Roshomoyee, the aunt (Pishima), Somlata, the new bride and Boshon, the gem of the Chowdhury hosehold.

Pishima, widowed at childhood, has only one thing dearest to her, her dowry of Gold that she never got to relish. Nor could she revel in youthful affection or feast on delicious dishes. You get a glimpse of the misery when Lata, while cooking fish, asks Pish
Chitra Ahanthem
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is an intergenerational narrative about three women of the Mitra family at the fag end of an earlier feudal era. The men in the family live on the money that comes by through the sale of land and jewellery since getting a job is beneath their dignity while the women are to remain in the shadow of the men. 

The underlying tone of the book is how the three women takes charge over their position in the family and their own personal lives in terms of their desires and needs.
Faroukh Naseem
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an absolutely delightful quick read this was! This book squeezes so many topics within its small size. An aunt dies yet her ghost stays back to haunt her in-laws family for letting her stay a child widow all her life. A patriarchal society dealt with by a poor woman who is wed into a family of Zameendars (Land owners), The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is your perfect weekend read when you don’t want to move an inch!
#theguywiththebookreview presents The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die by Shirshendu Mukhopad
How do you review a book when you have no idea what was going on?

Somlata is a young lower caste girl married into the upper class, but destitute, Mitras family. The family are so dissolute they don't even consider the possibility of getting a job. Somlata is also terrorised by Pishima, an elderly bitter widow in the family. When Pishima dies suddenly her ghost urges Somlata to hide her jewellery, jewellery that the rest of the family covets. From then on Somlata is haunted by Pishima's ghost whi
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5/5

The Temptation of youth torments the body,

My heart thumps louder with the receding distance,

His incessant pursuit threatens to break my resolve, mark my pristine mind.

This book is a celebration of women power, the driving force behind every household,the soul of all families. The story of many aristocratic families who lost their land lordship, but still lives in a golden dream, refuses to embrace the reality and work for sustenance. The blue blooded menfolk with all their good look
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die, three generations of Mitra women present a sweeping portrait of the changing landscape of socio-cultural, economical, and political relations in post-Independent India. The first of these women is Somlata, who’s born into a penurious family but a twist of fate sees her married to the younger son of the feudal family of the Mitras. The Mitras are perceived as a wealthy, reputed family by the society but the truth is quite to the contrary. With the feudal system being ...more
I enjoyed this classic feminist ghost story, translated from Bengali to English. I recommend reading the note from the translator at the back of the book before diving into this story; different cultures can create unique challenges for translations.
May 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley-read
Book Review: The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die
Author: Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers/HarperVia
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Review Date: May 17, 2020

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the blurb:
“A laugh-out-loud, tug-at-your-heartstrings tale of love, family, and freedom centered around three generations of Bengali women.

Somlata has just married into the dynastic but declining Mitra family. At eighteen, she expects to s
Krutika Puranik
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die - #bookrecommendation

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is a book that brings forward the idea of feminism. Written originally in Bengali by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and later translated into English by Arunava Sinha, this novella is a strangely comforting read. Set in the post-independence era, this book focuses on three generations of women in an Aristocratic family. The translation was what made it appealing to me. I finished it in two sittings and immediately chided myself f
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book Review: The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay. Translated by Arunava Sinha

Only 140 odd pages long, this novella was so much fun to read. The plot is unwavering, the narration, gripping. The translation is spot on. 4.5/5 ⭐

My reviews are not a summary of the book, it is more like my reading experience and what I extract from reading it. The story revolves around 3 generations of women of the same family, their struggles and actions in the face of double whammy of patriarchy an
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve been admiring this book from afar since it’s publication and I finally put aside a couple of hours today to read it.

A beautifully written novella about a tragic matriarch whose ghost influences all aspects of a family’s fortunes and future, this is definitely a tale to read in one sitting. My only caution would be not to rush it. Every word and detail is calculated and integral to the beauty of the storytelling.

Perhaps you can tell ... I thought it was more than worth the wait!
Anupama C K(b0rn_2_read)
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a pretty short book I finished it in around an hour. The translation was flawless, I never felt that it was translated from Bengal. I just felt it got over soon, I wanted more. The open ending didn't help either, I wanted closure. Definitely worth a read for the interesting characters ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Mridula Gupta
Full review @https://ecstaticyetchaotic.wordpress....

If I had to describe how I felt after finishing this book, I would say terrific, satisfying and effortless. And this description encompasses the writing and characters and the translation.

With only 140 pages long, this novella gives us three women, who are poles apart yet connected in the most ordinary ways. Somlata- a newlywed has a difficult time getting in terms with her in-laws, especially her pishima (father-in-law’s sister)- Roshomoyee.
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Due to the ways I actually get my hands on books and where I get my recommendations, I rarely read books by Indian authors. When I saw this small book available for request I wanted to give it a try to mend that fact.

The story is of one family, a family so trapped by the inertia of their past wealth that they cannot seem to do anything constructive. We are given a complete picture of the family living under one roof and the circumstances that cause the change to their circumstances. There is a s
Jessica Rodrigues
I'm not sure how to judge this book.

I read it in a single setting, and it was certainly a page-turner. But, at the end, I'm left with no strong feelings whatsoever, and it didn't really have a conclusion, just a stopping point. Maybe I just didn't get it. Maybe I'm missing cultural context. I dunno.


arc received from the publisher for review
Queen Ophilia III
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hc-hce
I actually liked this. I wish it was longer though, i felt like the book was to short. I really wanted it to be longer. The end came to abrupt.

I really recommend it though. Many said this book was really funny, I cant say I felt it was funny. But that doesnt mean its not good.
Ravi Teja
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Boy did I love this story. This isn’t at all like any of the books I read regularly. But it was such a delight, like trying a new dish which turned out awesome. Funny thing is I can’t even pinpoint exactly what made me like this book so much. No individual part or chapter was so great on its own, but together as whole it was a rather a delectable treat. Like the saying the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Take a bow Shirshendu da.

In my opinion of all the authors in India the Bengali a
Aritri Chatterjee
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay is famous for his quirky, entertaining short stories and novellas in Bangla. The Aunt who wouldn't die is a novella that serves as a perfect example of his writing style. It is a translated edition of Goynar Baksho, and the translation has been beautifully done by Arunava Sinha who is one of the best in his field.

Young Somlata is married to an ancestral family in Bengal who were once upon a time rich landlords and are still living off the remains from those riches. Somlat
Stephanie Jane
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-asia
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is an entertaining Indian novel which shows how women's lives and expectations have totally changed within three generations. I loved the three main characters - bitter widow Pishima, determined entrepreneur Somlata, and carefree teenager Boshon. Each of the two older women's attitudes are shaped as much by the situations in which they find themselves as by their own personalities. I was dismayed at how restricted Pi
Rania T
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novella was published in 1993, and has only recently been translated into English from its original Bengali form. It was a quirky read full of strong-willed, defiant women who keep the cogs of a once aristocratic family turning and a jewellery box that may or may not contain "Jaddoo" (magic)... ...more
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