Set in contemporary Communist-ruled West Bengal, Black Tongue explores the story of a young servant girl and her employer whom destiny brings together in an intricate dance of love and hate. Street-smart and sassy, sixteen-year-old Maya has aspirations beyond her means. In the belief that her black tongue has wrecked Amritas beautiful world, hate begins to simmer within Maya. One day, she disappears and Amrita, Mayas employer and a social worker, is charged with her death. The ubiquitous Party also begins to investigate the murder. In a bid to save herself, Amrita turns to her ex-lover Paresh, the ministers right-hand man. Meanwhile, Mayas brother, Naren, a cadre worker, sniffs an opportunity to make a fast buck. Is all this part of a big sinister plan? Or is someone being shielded in the commotion? Through this novel, Anjana Basu explores the contradictions that connect middle-class Kolkata and its urban slums with the rural West Bengal. As the events unfold, the story looks askance at a strange but recurrent socio-political phenomenon typical of West Bengal: pre-modern superstition existing in the interstices of an enlightened political apparatus.
Anjana Basu was born in Allahabad and studied in London. She works as an advertising consultant in Kolkata. When not churning out copy, she writes short stories and poems and travel pieces for journals like Travel Plus. Anjana has a book of short stories and a novel to her credit. The BBC has broadcast one of her short stories and her poems have featured in an anthology. She has also been published in The Wolfhead Quarterly, Gowanus, The Blue Moon Review, Australian Short Stories and Recursive Angel. Recently, she was published in Canadas The Antigonish Review. In 2004, she was a Hawthornden Fellow in the UK, and has recently been featured in The Edinburgh Review, one of Englands oldest literary magazines.