THE SHEHNAI VIRTUOSO AND OTHER STORIES
(DEEP VELLUM, US; JULY 2022)
by Dhumketu (translator: Jenny Bhatt)
First substantive translation of the Gujarati short story pioneer, Dhumketu
[For galleys, please contact Walker Rutter-Bowman at walker(at)deepvellum.org or check Edelweiss]
When Dhumketu’s first collection of short stories, Tankha, came out in 1926, it revolutionized the genre in India. Characterized by a fine sensitivity, deep humanism, perceptive observation, and an intimate knowledge of both rural and urban life, his fiction has provided entertainment and edification to generations of Gujarati readers and speakers.
The Shehnai Virtuoso brings together the first substantial collection of Dhumketu’s work to be available in English in the US. Beautifully translated for a wide new audience by Jenny Bhatt, these much-loved stories — like the finest literature — remain remarkable and relevant even today.
It is fair to say that Dhumketu is the Gujarati Chekhov or Tagore. He pioneered the short story form in Gujarati literature, taking it beyond mere storytelling to a creative art form with advanced literary devices, universal themes, and characters drawn from all walks of life — rural to royal, young to old. In particular, his strong, independent-minded women and emotionally sensitive men were well ahead of their time. READ MORE.
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ABOUT JENNY BHATT
Jenny Bhatt is a writer, literary translator, and book critic. She is the founder of Desi Books and teaches creative writing at Writing Workshops Dallas. Her debut story collection, Each of Us Killers: Stories (7.13 Books; Sep 2020) won a 2020 Foreword INDIES award in the Short Stories category and was a finalist in the Multicultural Adult Fiction category. Her literary translation, Ratno Dholi: Dhumketu’s Best Short Stories (HarperCollins India; Oct 2020) was shortlisted for the 2021 PFC-VoW Book Awards for English Translation from Regional Languages. Her writing has appeared in various venues including The Atlantic, NPR, BBC Culture, The Washington Post, and more. Upcoming events. Upcoming writing workshops. Latest publications. Free, weekly newsletter. FULL BIO.