The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die

“A chaotic, furious, extraordinary Bengali confection...Irresistible.” -- Philip Hensher, Man Booker–shortlisted author of The Northern Clemency

“A feminist, fractured fairy tale…this is a story that lingers.” – NPR 

"The book is a riot, a sprightly thriller that will make you not only want to discover more Bengali cultural norms of the vintage era but also create rational stirrings within you to go look up more of Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay’s works." -- World Literature Today


A laugh-out-loud, tug-at-your-heartstrings tale of love, family, and freedom centered around three generations of Bengali women.

Somlata has just married into the dynastic but declining Mitra family. At eighteen, she expects to settle into her role as a devout wife in this traditional, multi-generational family. But then Somlata, wandering the halls of the grand, decaying Mitra mansion, stumbles upon the body of her great aunt-in-law, Pishima.

A child bride widowed at twelve, Pishima has finally passed away at the ripe old age of seventy. But she isn’t letting go just yet. Pishima has long harbored a grudge against the Mitras for keeping her in perpetual widowhood, never allowed to fall in love.. Now, her ghost intends to meddle in their lives, making as much mischief as possible. Pishima gives Somlata the keys to her mysterious box of gold to keep it out of the Mitras’ hands. However, the selfless Somlata, witnessing her new family waste away their wealth to the brink of bankruptcy, has her own ideas.

Boshon is a book-loving, scooter-riding, rebellious teenager who wants nothing to do with the many suitors that ask for her hand. She yearns for freedom and wants to go to college. But when her poor neighbor returns from America she finds herself falling in love. Perhaps Pishima’s yearning spirit lives on in her own her heart?

The Aunt Who Wouldn’t Die is a frenetic, funny, and fresh novel about three generations of Mitra women who are surprising at every turn and defy all expectations. They may be guarding a box of gold, but they are the true treasures in this gem of a novel.

Title:The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780062976321
Format Type:

    The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die Reviews

  • Annet

    What a great, lovely, quirky, fun, sad & interesting book to read!!Very recommended!And oh, I think I reached the end of my 2019 challenge, yeah! :-)This is the story of Somlata, who marries at a youn...

  • Fran

    The Mitras used to be zamindars, feudal landlords in East Bengali but now household funds were dwindling. " The household runs with the money that comes from selling land and gold...the men in the fam...

  • Paromjit

    This is a short but fabulously entertaining read about women from different generations providing a thought provoking picture of their lives, culture, social change, family, and patriarchy. The smart ...

  • Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    This book is such a masterpiece! I feel more so because it's been translated so well. Well done!First of all, the writing! It sucked me in right away! It's written without any kind of pretension and i...

  • Resh (The Book Satchel)

    Rating : 4.5/5One of those novels where much is packed in a short book. I really enjoyed the book. It shows 3 generations of women — a widow aunt who dies and later haunts a young bride as a ghost, ...

  • Padmaja (thebookishtales)

    I read this book in a single sitting and I loved every minute of it 😍A masterpiece of a novella, only a 140 pages long, but it conveys so much in such less number of pages.~Young Somlata is married...

  • Rincey

    This was delightful...

  • Fareya

    A quick, quirky and entertaining read The Aunt Who Wouldn't Die is a short book, less than 200 pages but has plenty to say. It's about three generations of women - a bitter child widow great aunt Pish...

  • eyes.2c

    The title says it all, just not with the usual understandings!Cautionary tale, mythology, philosophical reader, a traditional story feminist? Maybe all, some or. One of the above. One thing is true, t...

  • Pari

    The story takes the readers back in time to the post-Independence era. Set in a feudal family with dwindling resources, we meet three women Roshomoyee, the aunt (Pishima), Somlata, the new bride and B...