BOOKS I read a book from each country in the world

Bangladesh: Hellfire by Leesa Gazi, translated from The Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya

Hellfire was my pick for Bangladesh. I loved it!

  • Author: Leesa Gazi
  • Translated by: Shabnam Nadia
  • Published by: Eka, an imprint of Westland Publications Private Limited
  • Cover design by : Harshad Marathe

Hellfire is a story of two sisters Lovely and Beauty. They couldn’t be more different from each other, but both are under the strict supervision of their mother Farida, who runs the household with an iron fist. She has her reasons though, which we get to discover later on in the story.

Beauty, true to her name, has a set morning routine spanning a few hours, dedicated to looking after her overall appearance: skincare, hair-care and all that shizz but using age-old tested home remedies. Her day normally starts at 10:30 a.m. and includes watching the same movies over and over.
Lovely, three years older than Beauty, on the other hand chooses the first Kameez that she lays her eyes on. She spends less time on her appearance than Beauty for sure.

Calling Farida a strict matriarch would be an understatement. A slight inconvenience, which can range from her girls going to the rooftop in her absence, to the school principal asking her not to wait outside the school gates the entire time the children are at school, would sent her packing the family into a new house. She runs things her way, period. The girls, even in their late thirties cannot go anywhere unaccompanied.
This does raise the question, what is the reason for her behaviour? Is she doing this out of love for her children, to protect them? or does she simply want them to go by the picture she paints, no questions asked ?

So, it is surprising indeed when on her fortieth birthday, Lovely ventures out on her own, of course with Farida’s permission, into the Gausia market to buy herself some clothes, UNACCOMPANIED. The story unfolds in this single day when Lovely finds herself breaking every single rule that her mother had drilled into their brains, roaming the streets of Dhaka, having an adventure of her own, discovering herself, her freedom.
Back at home we see Farida dealing with her own issues.

The way this story reads is indeed astounding. The author manages to capture feelings of claustrophobia and freedom in the same breath. She leaves us asking several questions as we turn the pages, yet somewhere when the book is closed, our subconscious mind has already figured it out. This is a book that like filter coffee needs time to have its affect.
The narrative does go back and forth in time, but it is done with skill.

On a completely unrelated note, but having been mentioned in the book, readers should really learn how to say “son of a bitch” in Bengali, believe me the feel is completely different.

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By averyorignalusername

Check out my first post on WordPress to know about ME.
In short I read, review, write, do not apologize for my opinions (no, they are not offensive), journal, and occasionally paint.

2 replies on “Bangladesh: Hellfire by Leesa Gazi, translated from The Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya”

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