Book Review: A Mirrored Life – The Rumi Novel by Rabisankar Bal (Translated by Arunava Sinha)
- ISIN: 978-8-184-00615-5
- Genre: Fiction
- Publishers: Random House India
- Price: Rs. 399/- (I received the book for review from the publisher)
On his way from Tangiers to China, the medieval Moorish traveller Ibn Battuta arrives in Konya, Turkey where the legendary dervish Rumi had lived, danced and died. More than half a century may have passed since his death, but his poetry remains alive, inscribed in every stone and tree and pathway.
Rumi’s followers entrust Ibn Battuta with a manuscript of his life stories to spread word of the mystic on his travels. As Battuta reads and recites these tales, his listeners discover their own lives reflected in these stories—fate has bound them, and perhaps you, to Rumi.
A Mirrored Life reaffirms the magical powers of storytelling, making us find Rumi in each of our hearts.
Behind The book
About the author
Rabishankar Bal is a Bangla novelist and short -story writer, with over fifteen novels, five short-story collections, one volume of poetry and one volume of literary essays. Born in1962, he has been writing for thirty years. His novel The Biography of Midnight won the West Bengal government’s Sutapa Roychowdhury Memorial Prize. Dozakhnama acknowledged by the late doyen of Bengali literature, Sunil Gangopadhyay, as the finest novel of 2010, won the West Bengal government’s Bankimchandra Smriti Puraskar. A journalist by profession, he lives in Kolkata and passionately follows literature, music, painting and world cinema.
About the translator:
Arunava Sinha translates classic, modern and contemporary Bengali fiction and nonfiction into English. Thirty of his translations have been published so far. Twice the winner of the Crossword translation award, for Sankar’s Chowringhee (2007) and Anita Agnihotri’s Seventeen (2011), respectively, and the winner of the Muse India translation award (2013) for Buddhadeva Bose’s When The Time Is Right, he has also been shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction prize (2009) for his translation of Chowringhee. Besides India, his translations have been published in the UK and the US in English, and in several European and Asian countries through further translation. He was born and grew up in Kolkata, and lives and writes in New Delhi.
“My learned readers, you know that there are stories even before there are stories, but some stories are bound by fate. “ A book whose blurb reads like this is surely a grab-it-now book for me. I have read Dozakhnama in 2011 and since then I have loved this author’s works so much that I have always been on a look out for his translated versions of his previous works as well. And I wasn’t disappointed at all.
For me this author has to knack of grabbing a thread out of his imagination and weaving amazing narrative around it to make it all come alive. He is a splendid story teller. His books are poetry in prose for me, their beauty reflecting in those phrases and words he uses throughout. He is not only a reader’s delight but also a writer’s wonder. He makes you want to read those stories and dream of writing something as close as to them in the magic they hold. The writing is conversational which makes it all the more gripping for it involves a reader, as if they author is talking to you through those pages.
This is not a book that will suit every one’s taste. It is more of an acquired taste in reading where you not only read the lines and try to understand them but also try to read between the lines and see the deeper meaning presented to you. I read this book thrice before writing this review and every time I read the book a new interpretation of the story would come up for me and that is where the magic of this author lies in making these stories seem charismatic.
Recommended for Rumi lovers, poetry lovers and people who love literature in its classical form!
This book is like kulfi falooda - crispy, sweet, crunchy, tangy, melts in the mouth and delicious!