The Bird Catcher and Other Stories
By Fayeza Hasanat
Jaded Ibis Press: Nov. 29, 2018
$17.99, 166 pages
I’m always trying to expand the range of my reading, especially the diversity of voices, because I want to learn about unfamiliar people, places, and cultures. It’s a big world, and I live in a small patch of it in central California.
While I’ve read fiction from authors who came from or live in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, I don’t think I’ve read anything from Bangladesh. So Fayeza Hasanat’s debut collection, The Bird Catcher and Other Stories was something of an introduction to Bangladeshi subject matter and style. It’s only eight stories from a single writer, so I’m not reaching any firm conclusions, but reading this book was a tasty sampler that has increased my interest in Bangladeshi writers.
Hasanat is a professor of gender studies and literature of the British Empire and South Asian diaspora at the University of Central Florida, and her expertise is reflected in these stories.
A few of the stories combine a traditional South Asian prose style with contemporary concerns. They are essentially fairy tales with a feminist bent. Others address the conflict between Old World and New World, past and present, native and immigrant, on issues like marriage, work, and family relationships. A touch of magical realism appears here and there.
While some of the stories are more persuasive than others, The Bird Catcher and Other Stories is an intriguing introduction to the sensibilities of a writer worth following.