Book Review: Scarred Earth

Author: Bhaswar Mukherjee

In a single line, this is a marvellous piece of literature dripping with pathos.

The story is divided into three parts. The first is based in a lesser-known place called Banguran where the protagonist Baruni, who is just 13, faces the worst horrors of her life. As events unfold in the garb of communal violence the author manages to grip us to the cruel acts justified by the facade of religion and revolution. In 24 hours Baruni is dislodged from the life she had led to date, her body and resolve battered beyond recognition.

The story then moves to Kolkatta where Muneim, a teen from a privileged background detests the very life he has had so far and is desperate to break the shackles of an authoritative father. He revolts to study local shattering his father’s dream of sending him abroad resulting in a permanent crack in the father-son relationship. Despite his brilliance and struggle he innocently has to bear the brunt of rotten luck.

The finale is in Siliguri where Baruni relocates for higher education. She meets Kunal who falls for her but in a strange turn of events she is faced with her dark past, which comes back to haunt her.

Does Baruni attain retribution? Does Muneim overcome the curveballs thrown his way and does Kunal emerge from the burden of revelations about Baruni and his family?

The book is nothing short of a masterpiece and as a reader, I was hooked to it throughout. The author’s impeccable research and intelligence as well as a strong command over language is reflected throughout the book.

I am engulfed with poignant longings even hours after I have finished the book. I ardently hope the author comes up with a sequel.


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