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Kalkatta Hardcover – 25 Nov 2015
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About the Author
Kunal Basu was born in Kolkata and educated in India and the United States. He is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, and ‘The Japanese Wife’ from his collection of stories by the same name has been made into an award-winning film. He lives in Oxford and Kolkata. www.kunalbasu.com
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The novel sets out to give refugee-migrant Jamshed Alam's life, in his own voice. What we hear is the voice of someone intent on cataloguing some of the more troubling facets of life in Kolkata. The character came to Kalkatta, a city made of dream and despair, gold and sin.
Each character represents some aspect of Kolkata and the lives of its citizens'rich, middle class and poor'and while so many different shades may have added up to a broadly representative portrait of the city, they do not add up to a richly layered story. The touch-and-go treatment most characters receive creates the impression that the primary purpose of having introduced them at all was to represent as many 'types' as possible. It also serves to repurpose stereotypes'the sex-starved rich or bored housewife, the insensitive journalist, the torturer cop, the prostitute (albeit a male one) with a heart of gold.
The last few pages seem to be suddenly weighed down by rhetoric. The narrator-character sounds not so much as if he was turning inward to reflect as much as he was starting to repeat himself. Finally, the reader is left neither at a delicate moment of suspension nor taken on a stomach-churning hurtle towards an inevitable finish.
1st part - It's a detailed sketch of parts of kolkata with their people....interesting...apart from same repeatations at it's last 40 pgs. 8/10
2nd part - JUST AWESOME. 9/10
3rd part - The plots/storylines made no sense...It's like using all the props on stage...without using one meaningfully. 4/10
STORYLINE & PLOT DEVELOPMENT - 7/10
Many will find the ending interesting because it's uttetly weird & absurd.But to me it's a visible weakness of imagination needed to write a suitable conclusion.
CHARACTERS - 7/10
some characters are well written... some important characters which had lots of potential gone to waste...and on the other hand several characters introduced at the last part were felt somehow like unused prop.
I think the author should've given it more time may be years to find a suitable conclusion...Just to finish the book and just for the sake of giving it a ending he wrote a conclusion..which lowered the whole standard of the novel.
If the ending was better....The novel could have been one of the best book written on Kolkata.
SO OVERALL 3.5 OUT OF 5.
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