19 May, 2021

The Daggers In Chinatown

A recalcitrant Bengal under Chinese control, a gallery of grotesques, murder—this futuristic comedy can hurt

Sandipan Chatterjee
The Daggers In Chinatown

Murder with Bengali Characteristics takes us back (to the future) to the India of Shovon Chowdhury’s debut novel, the brilliant Competent Author­ity. It is 2036—10 years after India lost an ill-advised war with China. The nuke attacks have obliterated Mumbai, and left large parts of Delhi highly rad­ioactive. Whatever remains of the nat­ion is run by a criminally insane bur­eaucrat. Bengal (and the Northeast) is a Chinese protectorate, which the Chinese are finding hard to govern, given that Bengalis have historically believed in the principles of general recalcitra­nce, anarchy, and the superiority of poetry and fish above all other earthly delights.

Murder WBC is not a sequel to The Competent Authority, because its events take place contemporaneously with those described in the earlier novel. Some characters who were introduced in Competent Authority and then mysteriously kicked to oblivion are here given a chance to tell the reader what they did after they were ejected from the opus. Others,...

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