In most of his novelettes for young readers, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (b.1935), one of the major figures
in contemporary Bengali fiction, tells the story of a teenager discovering himself in his encounters with
forces of both good and evil, including bullies and hoodlums, sometimes a golden-hearted thief taking
pride in his professional skill, and benevolent ghosts! Father Gabriel’s Crypt, the first of these work to be
translated into English, has a mix of adventure, suspense, fun and whimsy rarely so well combined.
Even as children’s literature becomes globalized, Thema launches a series of Indian children’s classics in
translation, each of them rooted in the culture and sensibility and experience of a particular region of the
country, offering young readers in other regions rare insights into the lives and feelings of the children of
that region, opening up the possibility of a fraternization of young people beyond geographical borders
and barriers of language.
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