Book Review: Voice of the Rain Season by Subrata Dasgupta

ISBN 978-9386538666

Genre: Fiction

Publishers: Fingerprint! Publishing

Price: Rs. 299/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
Behind the Book

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.

You know you are in for a treat when you hold a book whose dedication reads like this’ To the memory of 47 Theatre Road, Kolkata, India’. I have a special affiliation with Kolkata and anything remotely associated with it. There is something about this city that tugs my heart everything I hear or read about it. Though I have been there only once, the place is always akin to home for me for reasons unknown. Coming to the book Voice of the Rain Season by Subrata Dasgupta, it is all things Kolkata wrapped in a few pages. Reading it is like that first crush, unforgettable, can only be lived and experienced, not expressed in words.

It is the story of Joya and Martin. 
It is the story of love and longing. 
It is the story of secrets and discovery. 
It is about life and all that happens before you die. 

With a striking cover, which has a tale of its own to share this book is enticing. We all love fairy tales, irrespective of how they end because there is something ‘fairy-tale-ish’ about them. A certain amount of magic and liberal doses of romance is what we look forward to in them and that is exactly how this book begins with.

From there the story moves onto a plethora of aspects of today’s world. Living in different countries, struggling to hold onto the last thread of familiarity with culture and tradition, trying hard to stay connected with the family and bond, the confusion regarding identity we experience in an alien country and the bittersweet homecoming. How less do we know about the stories our families hold within their hearts! This book is one such story, held close by family for generations and is now peeping out of the cupboard. We tend to take relationships for granted and seldom notice the other person’s agony. Sadly, however bitter it might sound but the truth is we all have become tad myopic in our thoughts.

This book also has some poignant letters, something that I have always loved to the core. Apart from the two protagonists, this has several other secondary characters which add layers to the story. The beauty is that each of these characters is unique and has their own charm to bring to the narrative. None of them seem like mere caricatures, added only for the sake of it.

Voice of the rain season is a tender portrayal of love, relationships, desires, secrets, family, longing and loss. Written in a straight from the heart manner, this story touches a raw nerve in many aspects. It makes you ponder on a lot of things we often tend to ignore in the race of life, only to realize their worth very late. It also shows you how your identity is all that a part of you. Your thoughts, your beliefs and values form your identity. And you should celebrate your identity, the unique you!

Kudos to the typesetting of the book, with intricate designs before every chapter it just sets the tone for a reader. And double brownie points for the author for capturing Rabindra Sangeet so beautifully and weaving the story around its magic. A powerful plot, a brilliant narrative, two heartwarming characters and a prose that just flows like poetry – this book totally won my heart!

Strongly recommended for all people for there is something for everyone – romance, drama, emotions, philosophy and an air of intrigue.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like the Cinnamon and Walnut Porridge - warm, cozy, richly textured and wholesome!

Source: Ahead of Thyme