Apala Duttagupta’s career as a classical musician is cut short by marriage to an unsympathetic husband and entry into a family that doesn’t believe the bahu should be singing in public. After giving in for a while, Apala defies them and forges a successful career as an artiste, along with deep relationships with her teacher and fellow musicians.

What happens after this forms the second half of Bani Basu’s extraordinarily empathetic novel that mirrors many of middle-class Bengalis’ prejudices as well as non-conforming ways. It’s not often that, as a reader, you so strongly want a character you’re reading about to get what she wants.

Published in Bengali in 1993. Translated by Jayita Sengupta in 2017.