Harekrishna Deka, winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award and one of Assam’s foremost writers, is renowned for his short stories that are as incisive as they are moving. In this selection of his finest short fiction, Deka gives us a searing vision of the human condition, even as he brings alive the unique landscape of Assam in unforgettable images.
In the title story, an old woman, the only eyewitness to a crime, is forced to confront her own role in a long-forgotten murder, and the guilt that has lain dormant in her for years rears its monstrous head. ‘The Temple’ examines how society and religion create the ‘other’, and what happens when the marginalized refuse to lurk at the edges. ‘The Captive’ takes the reader through the forests and small hamlets that were once the refuge of militants as it tells the story of a kidnapped man and his unfathomable empathy with his captor.
Startling, insightful, and original in tone and form, Guilt and Other Stories presents a world that is both tender and painful. Through the collection runs a vein of rich, dark humour along with a deep, inimitable understanding of Assamese society, culture and history. Brilliantly translated by Mitra Phukan, a celebrated writer herself, these stories will live in the reader’s mind long after the last page has been turned.