SENSUALITY, NOT SO
BOOKMARK/ Ramawatar Sharma
It is never easy to develop a character from early childhood through adolescence to middle age in fiction and then be able to keep reader's interest alive throughout the book. Sreemoyee Piu Kundu is a new generation Indian author having graduated to fiction from the world of journalism. Her book Faraway Music, along with so many other young Indian authors' work, represents the Indian dominance in new English literature from Asia.
There is Piya Choudhary with curious and complex childhood maturing into adolescence and passing through so many crushes and infatuations of youth. There is feeling of love, attraction, excitement , guilt and sheer confusion. Piya is rebellious and takes control of her own life. There are glimpses of Mumbai's life but too many shortcuts deprive the book of depth and create a sense of superficiality of plot as far as Mumbai life is concerned. Being a journalist herself, Sreemoyee takes Piya to the world of journalism and the reader is exposed to inner working of the profession. Here again, the author delves only on the casual side of office politics and personal involvements. She could have deepened the story to readers' delight.
The book appears to be semi-autobiographical with some characters resembling author's own personal circle or they might, at best, be simply inspirational.
Sreemoyee has tried to make the book a bit sensuous with Piya Choudhary making it to bed with every man who comes in her life , even casually ! But this has weakened the main character and reader feel uneasy and confused with the life of Piya. Psychologically , it is uncommon for a woman to go to sexual intimacy with every man whom see likes but is not sure about her love for him. Was It a half-hearted effort to create an erotica on the part of author or a true reflection of changing norms at personal and social levels? But this could have been done in a more refined way. Subtlety is the essence of eroticism, perhaps.
The novel ends with so many positive co-incidences, almost like a Bollywood movie. And, this takes away the lingering memory of an otherwise well-told story. There are patches of brilliance and intrigue which heighten the cerebral stimulation of reader but couldn't sustain due to some palatable turns of situations. Overall, it is an interesting novel and an augury of more from Sreemoyee Piu Kundu.
The book is published by Hachette India and is priced at Rs. 299 paperback edition. It is a 340 page novel with good quality binding and fine editing. The publisher can be contacted at www.hachetteindia.com