Song Seekers, The
300 pp Pb
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As the monsoon rains wash over the city of Kolkata, four women sit and read and talk in the kitchen of Kailash—the old mansion of the Chattopadhyays where Uma comes to live after her marriage in the summer of 1962.
Her husband’s silence about his mother and the childhood tragedy that beckons him from the shadowy landing of Kailash, the embroidered handkerchiefs in an old soap box in her father-in-law’s room and the presence of the old, green-eyed Pishi intrigue Uma. But it is only as she begins to read aloud the traditional Chandimangal composed by her husband’s grandfather to celebrate the goddess that the smothered stories begin to emerge...
The novel weaves in the history of the militant goddess recast as wife, the Portuguese in Bengal, the rise of print and the making of memories from the swadeshi movement to the turbulent sixties in Bengal as Uma discovers that the foundation of Kailash is not only very deep but also camouflages the stench of death.
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