Mehrul Bari

Mehrul Bari S Chowdhury is a writer, poet, and artist. His work has appeared in Blood Orange Review, Kitaab, and Sortes Magazine, among others. He is currently the intern at Daily Star Books.

Boats against the current: Reconciling the Dhaka of old with the new

Nadeem Zaman’s The Inheritors retells and recontextualizes one of the most famous stories there ever was—F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925).

Matsyanayam

Luna strode then to the river’s bank, her loose-fitting blouse and petticoat flapping in the breeze that had speedily arrived. Her nupur, fashioned from mollusk shells, sounded in the wind like wind chimes, and more so when she moved.

Matsyanayam - A story of ancient Bengal, and the queen who lived a hundred years

And in the streets of Shonarga, Luna went about on foot, her nupur clinking against her ankles, notifying all passers-by of the good queen’s proximity.

Loneliness, and what I gained from a Creative Writing degree

The workshops were the sessions I’d look forward to. Someone actually reading your work, studying it, telling you what you do well, telling you what you can improve on, all phrased constructively (“I like this!” was a banned phrase). If you’re pursuing writing, workshopping—on some level or another—is what you’ll need.

‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’—One series to fail them all?

What point is Lord of the Rings making in 2022? That people are racist and wage wars? The original trilogy, from two decades ago, was making that same point.

Netflix’s ‘The Sandman’ re-creates Neil Gaiman’s world in its own image

If you didn’t read The Sandman, watch The Sandman. If you read The Sandman, don’t expect the same magic as in the pages.

Of noodles and nostalgia

“Ever since my mom died, I cry in H Mart”, reads the stark opening line in Michelle Zauner’s 2021 memoir, Crying in H Mart (Knopf), starting the

Killing the false woman: ‘The Harpy’ dissects parenthood, femininity, and domestic abuse

A book’s epigraph usually either leaves you droplets of hints of what’s to come or purposefully perplexes, with abstract quotes that leave you feeling rather than knowing.

July 29, 2021
July 29, 2021

2021’s Commonwealth Prize-winning story makes human the unsavoury segments of life

On June 30, a virtual ceremony for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize was held, and for the first time in its history a Sri Lankan writer was announced as the overall winner.

July 11, 2021
July 11, 2021

Kim Bo-Young’s ethereal new diptych

Central to Kim Bo-Young’s winning I'm Waiting for You: And Other Stories (HarperCollins, 2021; transl. Sophie Bowman & Sung Ryu) are duality, symmetry, and (dis)harmony. This new four-story collection is divided right down its middle—where the first and fourth stories are continuations of one another, while the second and third merge to form a tessellation of one overarching narrative. In its 314 pages is a constellation of imagined lives, imagined realities, that try and verily succeed in drawing the reader into its bizarre, brilliant, and frequently confounding orbit. Bo-Young has done well in structuring the two main stories of the book, though the hooking nature of the first forces a halt when one turns the page over to the contemplative and shape-shifting second.

July 10, 2021
July 10, 2021

Online memorial service for publisher emeritus Mohiuddin Ahmed

The first of the two-day memorial service for publisher emeritus Mohiuddin Ahmed was held at 7 PM on July 9. Family, friends, colleagues, and notable admirers gathered virtually to pay their respects to the late, great founder of the pioneering University Press Limited.

June 13, 2021
June 13, 2021

10 must-watch short story-to-film adaptations

We here at Daily Star Books enjoy nothing more than a good short story. Composed to be read in one or two sittings, the short story form lends much to the imagination of its makers, whose creativities, according to many a writer, are only emboldened by the strict word limits intrinsic to the form. The world of film, too, shares in this admiring, as can be seen in over a century’s worth of adaptations—some faithful, some not; some insipid, some inspired—that all have been fuelled by the few thousand words set first to page. In this list is a collection of 10 unmissable adaptations.

June 2, 2021
June 2, 2021

On the second batch of casting decisions for Netflix and Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Sandman’ adaptation

The two batches of casting announcements for Netflix’s The Sandman have given fans of the iconic comic book series—after several years of “development hell” and pessimism—reasons finally for optimism. Now to be realised as a television series after decades of ill-starred cinematic attempts, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (DC Comics) can finally begin its ascent into our side of reality.

June 2, 2021
June 2, 2021

Grow Your Reader to host ‘Book Garage’ donation event until June 15

Grow Your Reader, an organisation founded recently on the directive of “ensuring quality education” for underprivileged children, has launched Book Garage, which opened its doors on the first of June. The initiative is founded on a simple ethos—leave your old books behind, so those that don’t have the means can pick up and discover a new book for free.

May 20, 2021
May 20, 2021

Kelly Link’s ‘The Summer People’ and an escape from writer’s block

On the tail end of “The Lottery” in the summer of 1948, Shirley Jackson finished writing in one morning’s worth of work her underappreciated short story, “The Summer People”.

May 6, 2021
May 6, 2021

At Night All Blood is Black: All that war leaves behind

At Night All Blood Is Black (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020; transl. Anna Moschovakis), shortlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize, is a

April 30, 2021
April 30, 2021

UPL’s open-for-all book review contest

On the occasion of World Book Day 2021, The University Press Limited (UPL) have initiated a literary criticism competition to be held from April 23 to May 31, the first part of which is set to conclude at 12 PM on May 7. The competition will be conducted virtually through Facebook, with every participant receiving an additional 5 percent discount on top of the ongoing discount on any order placed through the UPL page on the social media website. In addition, five contestants will be awarded UPL coupons at the end of the competition.

April 22, 2021
April 22, 2021

The writers of ‘Golden: Bangladesh at 50’ tell their tales

In Golden: Bangladesh at 50 (University Press Ltd, 2021) edited by Shazia Omar, 23 of Bangladesh’s eminent writers and poets—including Kaiser Haq, Arif Anwar, Shabnam Nadiya, Farah Ghuznavi, and others—find home for their varied expressions of Bangladeshi life, culture, history, love, hate, as well as the lulls that defined our quarantined existence this past year.

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