Book Review: TRINOYINI, the slaughterer of Sonagachi

Author: Moitrayee Bhaduri

 

The story is a Historical fiction, based on the life of Troilokya, India’s first known serial killer. It is based in the 1870s when British colonialism and commerce were spreading their roots deep within the country. Particularly the city of joy, Calcutta (presently, Kolkatta) sees innumerable changes that shake the very foundation of local culture and heritage, customs, and traditions.

The story of Trinoyini begins as a beautiful little girl barely 12, belonging to the highest hierarchy of the caste system, Kulin Brahmin, is married off to a 40-year-old man. The latter only bleeds the family dry in form of dowry over the next few years and the marriage remains unconsummated. Eventually, the man passes and instead of living an archaic life of enforced widowhood, Trinoyoni chooses to elope with her paramour, to Calcutta.

She soon metamorphosis into Tronoyoni Devi after reaching Sonagachi, the famed redlight district within the city. The forbidden by-lanes bring her fame and wealth where patrons vie for a mere glimpse of the damsel she turns into.

But intense fame and wealth amassed in a short while, sow the seeds of downfall and unscrupulous decisions leave her penniless. She soon resorts to crime and the crux of the story speaks about her modus operandi. The narrative brings out the transition of the sensual seductress into a serial killer; the savage executioner behind the facade of breathtaking beauty. It’s an eventful journey of a child widow to a famed courtesan and eventually the remorseless murderer.

However if one thinks deeply, Trinoyoni didn’t fit into the classic profile of a serial killer. She did what she did to survive and for her foster son. It however doesn’t justify the killing spree she ventured upon.

A riveting read!

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