A tremendous portrait of the hopes and horrors, the threads of delicate perception and the pangs of fear and illusion, of a growing boy's life in a provincial town in Odisha. Banka Harichandan returns us to the unique atmosphere, at once particular and universal, of our own childhood. - Chandrahas Choudhury, Author of Arzee the Dwarf and My Country Is Literature
Dipti Ranjan Pattanaik creates a masterly tale of coming of age in Odisha’s pious, rustic, heartlands. Deftly translated into English from Odia, "The Life and Times of Banka Harichandan" carries the reader into a delightfully immersive experience of young Banka’s heady confrontation with adolescence—and with the relentless world of grown-ups…. Dispassionate and compassionate at the same time, ‘Banka Harichandan’ is a heart-warming tribute to the eternal reenactment of growing up. - Paul Zacharia, Author of Bhaskara Patellar and Other Stories and The Reflections of a Hen in Her Last Hour and Other Stories
In this tour-de-force of a coming-of-age narrative, the story of an ordinary but precocious boy named Banka Harichandan is told afresh, using a mixture of childhood perception, idiolect, and anecdotes. The stories evoke a child’s restless and questioning mind constantly pushing against the restrictive limits of his placid and conformist times.
Presented in a series of discrete tales, the narrative—best thought of as a ‘composite novel’—takes the reader on an odyssey through the whole gamut of emotions that light up the passage from innocence to experience in a small-town, lower-middle-class setting. Unfolding at a leisurely pace and studded with epiphanies, The Life and Times of Banka Harichandan is a remarkable contribution from Odisha to literature centred on children.
Dipti R. Pattanaik teaches English at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. He is a bilingual writer, literary critic and translator. He writes short stories and essays on literary criticism both in Odia and English. His essays and short stories have appeared in major journals in India and abroad. His translations, from English to Odia and Odia to English, have been published by major publishers. He has received the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Award, National Katha Award and Jhankara Award, among others, for his creative writing, and the Fakir Mohan Sahityashree Award for his translation.