Sonar Gaaon by Nilendu Sen ( A critique)

{ Posted on Jun 04 2013 by aditya seth }
Categories : Book Review

Set in the beginning of the millennium Sonar Gaoon is a contemporary tale written like a period piece. Replete with an archaic feel of the English language, a quaint mix of old world imagery & contemporary phraseology on the one hand juxtaposed with Indian poetry, song & incantations on the other. The writer garnishes the story with a liberal dose of culture specific nuances which compel the reader to suspend their disbelief & become one with the players, living in a miasmic microcosm of a decaying mega polis.
Every character right from the sex workers, to the pimps, the madams to the politicians are so well crafted that they almost seem like clichés but for Nilendu Sen who consistently stretches their boundaries & compliments them with the unexpected twists & turns in the plot which makes the experience not just engaging but thrilling.
In the backdrop of a trade union’s efforts to organise the sex trade & the resistance that they meet the primary conflict of Sonar Gaaon deals with the ever burgeoning threat of HIV/AIDS & the near impossible task of making sex workers use protection which repeatedly leads to mayhem, murder, death & discrimination as one would expect but Sen’s craf tsmanship is what makes for edge of the seat reading & unexpected drama. Sonar Gaoon is a modern day morality tale wherein there are no absolute blacks or whites only various shades & hues of grey & interestingly the lesson stems from immorality at its worst, forcing the reader to take a hard look at their own complacent selves & in the process seriously hurts their sensibilities.
I highly recommend Sonar Gaaon not only for its entertainment value but also for its capacity to make the reader want to think & reflect on the tragedy of life.


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