Author: Bhabendra Nath Saikia
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Maitreyee S. C.
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143063858
‘She had given her husband four children, had bared her body and soul to him…why did he want to remarry? Today, what made him dress in a new silk kurta, become a bridegroom once again, and leave on elephant-back to take another woman as his wife?’
When Menoka’s dissolute husband Mohikanto takes a second wife she is devastated by the heedless manner in which he squanders her unquestioning loyalty. But after the initial anguish she finds new strength—in her womanhood when she embraces a tender but illicit relationship with a village outcast; in her role as a fiercely protective mother; and, eventually, in a compassionate humanity towards her frail and battered co-wife and needy stepchildren. The story also poignantly explores Menoka’s troubled but ultimately redemptive relationship with Indro, her first-born son, who is unwittingly exposed to a bewildering world of adult complexities and feels compelled to leave the village.
Translated from the original Assamese novel Antoreep by renowned writer and film-maker Bhabendra Nath Saikia, The Hour before Dawn is set primarily in pre-Independence India and vividly reflects the intensely verdant life of a small village in Assam. This is a haunting story of conjugal betrayal and retribution, a woman’s hidden strength in her darkest hour and the unforeseen bonds that develop between unlikely people in unexpected circumstances.
“A rare glimpse of Assamese society, portrayed with deep understanding and love by a master craftsman”.--- Mamoni Raisom Goswami, acclaimed author of The Moth-eaten Howdah of the Tusker and winner of the Jnanpith Award