Tag Archives: English

Book Review: ‘Khela Noy’ By Sunil Gangopadhyay

In my review of Sunil Gangopadhyay’s short stories, I had remarked about their having no plot. Still, I am particularly impressed by his narrative and description. With very little glamour and paraphernalia, he is able to present complete, simply narrated and deep stories. When the description itself is simplified, without exaggerated emotions or figures of speech, the readers are let free to discover and explore all the underlying emotions on their own. Another characteristic I am noticing with every new reading of Sunil Gangopadhyay is that he does not shy away from expressing thoughts, biases or emotions — however ugly or socially unacceptable they might be. He considers them, accepts and acknowledges them as a matter of fact, neither boasting nor feeling shy or ashamed of them. In other words, he accepts strengths as well as weaknesses of humans, but neither supports them nor opposes them. This helps him in looking at every thought, problem or idea from different perspectives, most of which are unbiased, thus providing a balanced comprehension.

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Book Review: ‘Khela’ By Sunil Gangopadhyay

I have reviewed a book by Sunil Gangopadhyay earlier on this blog. It was the first volume of his three-volume collection of short stories. In that post, I had mentioned characteristics of Sunil’s writing style. Also, my analysis of his interpretation of Who Broke Kanishka’s Head continues to be the most read article on my blog. Recently I had an opportunity to read a short novel by him titled Khela, and would share its narrative and my opinion with you.

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Book Review: ‘Manavputra’ By Samaresh Majumdar

The next book by Samaresh Majumdar that I read was Manavputra. It is inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s novel ‘An Enemy Of The People’. If you are keeping track of the fight against climate change or other environmental issues, and are also able to read between the lines and what goes behind the curtains, then this novel would not surprise you in any way. The theme is simply the conflict between environmental conversation and corporate interests.

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Book Review: ‘Pherari’ By Samaresh Majumdar

In my previous post I told you about the novel Unish-Bish by Samaresh Majumdar. Through this post I want to share with you another novel by Samaresh Majumdar which goes by the title Pherari. This is a bit different story both in its background and narration. The most noteworthy feature of this novel is the idea which the writer presents through his narration.

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Book Review: ‘Unish Bish’ By Samaresh Majumdar

I have read couple of novels by Samaresh Majumdar. His writing style is very energetic and is marked by its flow. However, none of his novels sticks in memory and seldom invokes any deep emotion or thought in heart and mind. Usually one comes across fiction written in third person. Occasionally, you might also have come across stories written in first person. I have noticed that several of Samaresh Majumdar’s stories and novels are a combination of these two approaches. I mean, a paragraph starts with narration in third person, but as one sentence follows another, the narration transforms into first person. I mention this at the very beginning because this is a characteristic of Majumdar’s writing and it looks very awkward.

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Know This Book: ‘Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo’ By Premendra Mitra

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Another book that I read this year was Premendra Mitrer Shrestho Golpo (Best Stories of Premendra Mitra). As the title suggests, this book is a compilation of short stories by Bengali writer Premendra Mitra. Honestly speaking, I had difficulty appreciating most of the stories mainly because they have been written in an abstract manner. The stress of the writer is on depiction of the environment, human expressions and emotions, whereas the plot is secondary. But certainly, the description is flawless — all stories help you in experiencing life in varied colours. This is a characteristic of nearly whole Bengali literature irrespective of genre — it evokes emotions in you that you yourself weren’t aware of.

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Know This Book: ‘Kiriti Roy’ By Nihar Ranjan Gupta

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I had survived the first COVID wave last year with art as my only recourse. And to survive the second wave, I took refuge in literature, particularly fiction. With rising number of COVID cases, general indifference and influx of bad news and negative communication, the need for a strong distraction grew immensely. I knew that only nicely written detective novels or stories have the ability to engage the mind and keep it away from external influences. Another genre is horror; however, I am not very aware of literature in that genre, and have read only short stories. Anyway, coming back to detective novels, I had a good experience in the past from Saradindu Bandyopadhyay, Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and innumerable stories published in Anandamela. Problem with detective stories is that there is no scope of re-reading. Once you have read a particular story, you already know who the culprit was and all the nitty-gritty of the crime. So another reading of the same story has no charm and nothing new to offer. I keep it in my mind that the first reading is going to be my only reading of the story and therefore try to give my full attention to it.

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Know This Book: ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’

The most important book that I read this year was titled ‘Krishnamurti For Beginners: An Anthology’, published by Krishnamurti Foundation India. I had purchased this book sometime around 2006 when I was in Ahmedabad, and had already read it once or may be twice. This was my third reading of this book. Krishnamurti rarely fails us and always impresses us by his insight into problems and issues we come across in our everyday lives. After a biographical sketch and an outline of Krishnamurti’s philosophy by Radhika Herzberger, this book presents a collection of Krishnamurti’s writings, diary notes, speeches, dialogues and conversations. He does not belong to any religious sect or philosophical school; instead, he has a direct and straightforward way of looking at things, and through every piece of writing or conversation he encourages you to look at ‘what is’ instead of ‘what should be’. According to him, this conflict between ‘what is’ and ‘what should be’ is the root cause of most of the problems. 

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Book Review: ‘Invitation to Draw’ By Jean Van’t Hul

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In my conversations with parents concerned about their children’s future, I always advise them to make their children invest in arts and books. Here I use art in the broadest possible sense, which includes fine arts as well as performing arts. If you indeed love your children, you must think of their future, and provide them with something which would support them whole life. 

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Book Review: ‘Every Day Is Earth Day’ By Harriet Dyer

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I frequently receive books on climate change for review. Each one of them presents the subject from a different perspective and addresses different aspects of the problem. After reading my reviews, most of the time my readers put this question to me — “What are we supposed to do?”, and ask me reference of any book which might be able to answer this question. They want to contribute in the fight against climate change but they do not have any idea how to go ahead with it. The book Every Day is Earth Day: Simple Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint by Harriet Dyer answers precisely this question. The most noteworthy feature of this book is that it does not deviate a bit from its focus and successfully delivers what it promises. It is a hand-manual for citizens to help them reduce their carbon footprint by making few changes in their lifestyle. The book is loaded with data and facts, excellent graphics, and sound suggestions and advice. There are no typographical errors. The book has been compiled very nicely and you will sense the commitment to the cause on part of the writer and publisher. As such, I do not have any criticism or negative feedback for this book; so I will give you a brief summary of the book.  

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