- Paperback: 250 pages
- Publisher: Readomania; First edition (1 May 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9385854275
- ISBN-13: 978-9385854279
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,80,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Cantilevered Tales Paperback – May 2017
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About the Author
Jayant Kripalani is an Indian film, television and stage actor and director. He is best known for his performances in television series such as Khandaan, Mr. Ya Mrs. and Ji Mantriji. He graduated from Jadavpur University, Kolkata with a degree in English Literature and has worked in the advertising industry before moving to film and television. He is actively involved with theatre and continues to act on stage as well as on screen.
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From there, he delves into the back story of said colleague, winding his way around to the various other people who form the narrative of the book. Like his slow journey through the bridge traffic, he takes his time to unfold their stories and build them up as the eccentric characters they are meant to be.
He paints each scene with bright shades of tongue-in-cheek humour, paired with the most colourful Bengali phrases that dazzle his prose. I am not familiar with the Bengali language, thus the glossary at the end of the book was most helpful in deriving a full reading experience. It wouldn't be the story it is, without the originality of the language, which proves its own inherent role.
The pages turn themselves at a foot-tapping pace as the reader gets wound up in the hilarious turn of events created by the seemingly ordinary Chingdi Kaka, Banshi Mama, Ashutosh Babu, The CM, and many more entertaining people.
I also couldn't help but notice that the book is edited extremely well, absolutely flawless, something that I have rarely seen from Indian publishers. I only recommend that the glossary be more extensive to include other Bengali terms and phrases which are currently missing explanation. It would make a world of difference for readers who do not understand Bengali.
Cantilevered tales is a story about the quirks of ordinary citizens and their response to situations around them, which in turn makes them the people they become. All laid out with generous servings of wit and humour.
What Author Kripalani has created here is a literary masterpiece, as evident from his writing style that spotlights the sociopolitical theme he has chosen. Right from the pond caretaker, to the members of the Bird Witchers (you read that right) Association or the outrageously comic Oleek Babu, every person you come across is endearing.
Cantilevered Tales is clearly my choice for must-read novel of the year and goes right up to the top of my list of favourite books.
For complete review, visit aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com.
The author could have chosen the scenic Victoria memorial, where couples merrily pass their time in the evening and continue long after sunset, hiding behind the bushes, below the trees. The author could have chosen the cool and trendy Park Street. If not anything else, he could have chosen the Mureer tiner bus so typical of Kolkatta.
But again, this bridge is more than what appears to the casual onlooker. It’s more than just a mere transit. It’s people’s bridge to livelihoods. Even after more than two decades of the existence of Bidyasagar Setu, its cousin, hasn’t handled this kind of traffic. Rabindra Setu, as Haora bridge is formally known, still beats it hands down.
Among those lakhs and lakhs of people, is the protagonist Khokon Lahiri who lives in the little known town of Santragachi, and then takes the bus ride across the river to Writer’s along with his colleague Ashutosh Babu who will use the bridge as his soft target for all the angst and frustration that he carries against the crooked world.
The writing style of the author is a savoury treat. The way he describes the characters, the scenes with his wit and humor, I think it is unparalleled. I could never imagine that someone like a Chief Minister would have a humorous side in him, at least not in his public life. Amazed at how the CM took a jibe at Oleek Babu. After hearing from the protagonist, I can’t wait to have a drink with Ashutosh Babu at Chota Windsor. And after realizing how tall Chingdi was, I am now wondering what should be the best way to measure someone’s height. I will not question the authority of Banshi mama and submit to his polite whip while calling HorenDa. I will give some tips to professional matchmakers how to make it out when is it that a daughter’s father is ready to accept someone as his son-in-law. And after hearing about Chingdi’s past, I will definitely advocate the most brutal punishment for Sadhu-Sanyasis who, in the guise of their so-called pious image, exploit a vulnerable female devotee. All of these, because of the way the author brought it out in his book with finesse. And above all, Cantilevered Tales can offer us some true literary fulfillment of taking on a corrupt system…………………with some extra cheese.
This book made me want to visit Kolkata. The story of the unscrupulous builder against a man trying to protect his home was well-narrated and appeals to all those environmentally conscious too. But that's not the highlight of the book.
The highlight, as we hoteliers always say, is the people that make it what it is. (From the outside, every hotel looks the same - a glitzy accommodation, but its what the people inside the building offer to the guest that makes their stay different and memorable.)
The same holds true for this novel too. At the outset, it may look like just a funny, light read but step inside the fictional world and you'll discover what makes this book truly different are the quirks, resilience, and the comradeship of the people that come together despite all their differences.
This was one book that made me believe in the power of togetherness and that the common man can make a difference.
As you read this book, you'd sometimes find yourself chuckling out loud, sometimes smiling in amusement, and sometimes just marveling at the author's wit. Don't read it when you're short on time, for once you begin reading it you'll enjoy it so much you won't be able to put it aside.
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