Audacious experimentalist and self-declared anti-writer, Subimal Misra is the master of contemporary alternative Bengali literature and anti-establishment writing. This collection brings together twenty-five stories that record the dark history of violence and degeneration in the Bengal of the seventies and eighties. The mirror that Misra holds up to society breaks every canon of rectitude with unfailing precision. The stories also plot the continuous evolution of Misra’s writing as he searches for a form to do justice to the reality that confronts us. Deeply influenced by Godard, Misra uses montage and other cinematic techniques in his stories, which he himself calls "anti-stories," challenging our notions of reading and of literature itself. Brilliantly translated by V. Ramaswamy, Wild Animals Prohibited: Stories/Anti-stories startles with its blasphemy, its provocative ideas, and its sheer formal daring.


“Philosophical passages collide with scenes out of a horror novel, including sections focusing on a predatory creature: “Once complete darkness envelops the place, it emerges, it searches for raw humans.” . . . And some of the stories take bolder structural risks; in “Will You Preserve Your Chastity, Aparna?” which concerns itself with desire and intimacy, the text gives way to a table at one point, accentuating the skewed connection between narrator and reader. There’s a lot to admire and savor in these challenging works.”Kirkus Reviews

“Misra’s challenging, inventive English-language debut strings together a series of images that lay bare the deprivations of the underclasses in early 1980s Kolkata. . . . This dense, politically charged text is a fine achievement in experimental fiction.”Publishers Weekly

“Misra leaps and alights from branch to bough in a cosmic garden of characters. . . . These two anti-novels are an invitation to engage with discomfort, through purposeful silence, jump cuts and ferocious prose.”—Percy Bharucha, Hindustan Times

“Misra’s stories are not seductive; their power lies in their subversion. They look straight into the dark heart of the middle class and use an array of startling techniques to undercut the pretensions and hypocrisies by which we live.”—Jerry Pinto

Wild Animals Prohibited by Subimal Misra

  • Open Letter 2021

    New paperback

    300 pages