'Bhoy o Bhoutik Somogro' - a masterclass in Bengali horror by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay
Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay is certainly a household figure among connoisseurs of Bengali literature, and his attachment to the nature of Bengal, which is masterfully portrayed in his write-ups, makes him one of the greatest writers in the language.
Bibhutibhushan, however, also never shied away from writing about horror and paranormal fiction, something that doesn't have a vast body of literature in Bengali, with some of his works in horror fiction being immortalised in the collective consciousness.
'Bhoy o Bhoutik Somogro' is a compilation of almost all the horror and paranormal stories written by Bibhutibhushan; hence, it contains novellas, short stories, and so on. Bibhutibhushan's most well-known horror creation, Taranath Tantrik, is also in the book, with both of the stories written by him before his death, after which his son, Taradas, continued the writing.
Other than the main story, the book contains many other stories, many of them portraying different ages and eras. For example, the story 'Meghmallar' can be regarded as a semi-mythical rendition of the ancient syncretism in Bengal with a touch of supernaturalism, which surely is enough to captivate the readers.
Other than this, stories like 'Tiroler Bala,' 'Bomaiburur Jongole,' and 'Kobirajer Bipod' are typically Bibhutibhushansque, as they combine the rustic and raw beauty of rural Bengal before not only partition but also the lives of ordinary people, albeit with supernatural and horror elements in them.
Other than these, there are also quite a few stories that cannot necessarily be described as supernatural but rather mostly deploy the psychological tinge of horror, and also a few stories which have a bit of a sarcastic element in them, something which the reader is quite likely to enjoy, such as 'Moshla Bhut' and 'Birja Hom o tar Badha.'
The stories like 'Poitrik Bhita' and 'Bagher Montor' are unique in the way that the first one will invoke a sense of nostalgia in the reader, as well as the fact that the second one describes a Sundarbans that is quite unknown to the modern Bengali and is stuck in the 1930s.
As a whole, the book is a must-read for anyone and everyone looking for quality works in horror and paranormal fiction, that too in Bengali. However, the book can generally be recommended to anyone who likes to explore and succumb to Bibhutibhushan's writings.