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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Speaking Ghost of RajpurNo.of pages : 304 
Publisher : Thought Baloon books
Published on : 2015
Genre : Historical fiction
Book links : Goodreads Amazon 
Author links : Goodreads


We all remember our childhood days spent in our grandparent’s house and also in our uncles and aunties house really too well. We can never forget them. Those are the memorable moments of our life as we wasted most of our time simply by chatting, playing and just fooling around with our cousins.

To all grownups, if time travelling machine is invented, we will not think twice going back to our childhood days and reliving those days once again instead of running from the madness of our city life without worrying what’s in store for us in the near future.

Since it is not possible to time travel, thus, author Priyonkar Dasgupta has done a splendid job by unfolding a story of a young boy set in the early 1990’s when school children have summer holidays.

About the novel

“The speaking ghost of Rajpur” is a fantabulous, mind blowing unpredictable novel. Before I like you all to know the story, I want to thank author Priyonkar Dasgupta first for reaching out to me and generously giving his book in exchange for an honest review. I revisited my childhood days by reading his marvelous work which did wonders as it made me recall all of my pleasant childhood memories. I will suggest, to all those who wish to read this book shall read it on weekends as  you can expect to live the life of the central character (until the story ends), a young lad named Shoumo aged 13 years who tries hard to fit in with a gang of teenagers including his brother Shoumik on his summer vacation.

For his brother, though, the place, Rajpur is not new as he has visited plenty of times or so and especially he and his cousin Joy are perfect buddies . However, for some reasons, Shoumo has not visited his aunt’s house and is a newbie to Rajpur. That’s why he tags along with his cousin joy’s friends and his brother Shoumik as he doesn’t have any other option that is considered as best. Shoumo gives his voice to the novel, it is in his perspective, the novel is told.

When I was 13 years old like Shoumo, I read a novel , “ A  hole in the world”. Though that story doesn’t really match author Priyonkar’s novel in any way but the voice of the book was that of a 15 year old teenager. Then there is author John Grisham’s novel, “ A painted house” in which an eight year old is a narrator. Writing a novel where the main protagonist is a small boy is still new in India and for this reason,  I find his novel totally awesome . In India, according to my carefully calculated guess, only author Priyonkar has written a novel where a young boy is a story teller. So kudos to the author for daring to be different.

And the debate whether Ghost is fictional or non-fictional remains unsolved and this novel is no way related to the title. The book cover design is apt for the story. It gives a peaceful feeling. The few picture found in the book is not essential, in other words, there is no need to include them in the novel.I am not sure why they are there in the first place. If I am right many will just skip from noticing it and continue concenterating on the next page.

Merits & Demerits

Let me talk about the demerits first -If I have to mention the demerits of the book, it is the typographical errors such as ‘the’, ‘on’, ‘that’ is repeated twice in the initial pages of the novel(not so important) and there are very, very few grammatical errors that didn’t matter to me. 

What mattters was the bad habits of the teenage boys  which is appalling to the core. To be specific, smoking cigarettes, ogling at girls and woman alike, trying to get porn videos from a known shop, nasty stares of Joy at his cousin Shoumo when he speaks casually to the younger sibling(girl) of his friend, double meaning dialogues, pulling Shoumo’s leg very often by making him uncomfortable, their inquisitiveness to go to dangerous places like that of Tantric and haunted house without their parent’s consent, and going to an isolated factory all by themselves. 

To put all the above stated in one sentence, I would say that all teenage boys mentioned in the novel (Joy, Shoumik, Pinku, Tony, Rakesh) lacked self-discipline ,  it was a pity that Shoumo wanted to be a part of their gang that badly and it was pathetic that he himself tried to smoke a cigarette like his friends when they were not noticing).

So I never thought I was in for a big surprise. The great twist to the story was unexpected. To all those who are reading this post now, if you think you have figured out about where the novel is going or  just pretend to know how it is going to end, then you are in for an unforeseen surprise. I will give a clue. The spoiled brats turn into real heroes towards the end of the novel.

My verdict

The major problem was the boy who made me engrossed and glued to the book thinks, acts and talks like a matured person. However, I felt this does not tamper with the overall story. To all readers, if you have liked “The adventures of Tom Sawyer” and other books where the story revolves around young boys/young children, then you are up for a treat. Go ahead and get a copy of this book. You will not regret it.

My rating 4/5