Blurb: On a September Saturday afternoon in 2011, Martin Shawncross and Joya Bose in perfect synchrony surrendered their respective virginities. That Martin, a twenty-one-year-old American, had waited so long for this momentous personal event would have scandalized his friends and family were they to know about it. That Joya, a twenty-five-year-old Bengali, did not wait longer for this same experience would no doubt have scandalized her family had they come to know of it. Thus begins this gossamer tale of love and discovery, reaching back to a past spanning four generations and two continents. Narrated through the seemingly banal story of a young couple falling in love in present-day America, Voice of the Rain Season explores by way of memory, history and old letters, the life of a family in a pre-Independence Bengal. It unearths through Joya’s discovery of the family’s long forgotten secret, notions of identity, homecoming, language and loss. The heart of Dasgupta’s novel, however, lies in the glory of Tagore’s Rabindra Sangeet and the beauty of classical music, as it surpasses geographical boundaries and seeps effortlessly into the hearts of a people far-removed from the Bengali landscape.
About the author: Subrata Dasgupta is a multidisciplinary scholar, teacher and writer. He holds the Computer Science Trust Fund Eminent Scholar Chair in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Born in Kolkata, he was educated in England, India and Canada. He is the author of sixteen books including a childhood memoir Salaam Stanley Matthews and Awakening: The Story of the Bengal Renaissance. He lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Review: Voice of the Rain Season by Subrata Dasgupta is a look through their dead parents’ letters from relatives in India, Manjula, a second generation Indian-American and her sister Nilima make a staggering discovery. Their mother had had a twin sister who had lived in India with whom she has been alienated for over a quarter of a century. A woman, whose very existence, Manjula and Nilima had never known of. The mystery of this family secret remains impenetrable for over three decades until, one Thanksgiving weekend in her Houston home in USA; Manjula meets her grandson’s girl friend Joya, a literature graduate student from Calcutta. A friendship quickly forms between the two. And consequently begins their expedition to determine the anonymity of Manjula’s mother and the mysterious aunt. The mission becomes a passage of sighting and reaching back to times of yore that seems more or less a foreign country, straddling three continents and four generations. A story is exposed, of love and unfaithfulness, of lies and secrets, of loss and recuperation, of family bonds conked out and restored. A story filled with music. And it reveals, above all, the truth about the twin sisters, a truth so unimagined, so volatile, that it changes the very foundation of Manjula’s sense of individuality. This is my first book which I read written by Subrata Dasgupta. The language of the book has been straightforward, as sometimes the author goes into minute details of the topic and in other cases just touched upon from the periphery. Overall, it gives a good understanding of the concept of Bengal Renaissance with details about Rabindranath Tagore.
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