Chronicles of the Lost Daughters by Debarati Mukhopadhyay – translated by Arunava Sinha.
I received a Paperback copy via #Bookchatter – the Blogchatter Book Review Program, in return for an honest review. The book is available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle format
Language. Genre. Pages:
English. Historical Fiction. 326 pages.
What is it about?
An unfortunate incident sparks some hasty decisions, which require child widow Bhubonmoni to flee her village along with her brother, Krishnoshundor, and his family. The families’ naivete and desperation make them prime targets for an agent who promises them safety but instead sells them to a rich and wily trader, Nobokishore, as soon-to-be slaves to the British.
Chondronath a young musician moves to Calcutta with dreams in his eyes and a voice so mellifluous that it catches the attention of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. While his voice enthralls others he is enthralled by Moti, the Nawabs daughter from his mistress and who is Nobokishore’s mistress, forced into prostitution due to lack of financial help. Chondronath makes up his mind to rescue this beauty.
Much married 52-year-old Nobokishore’s thirst for a son makes him follow his astrologer’s advice, of marrying a 10-year-old high caste girl, and he abducts both of Krishnoshundor’s young daughters for that purpose.
Different people in different places on journeys you go along as a fellow traveler.
What did I think of it?
Set in 19th century Bengal, Chronicles of the Lost Daughters is a story that holds many stories in its folds.
This historical fiction shines the light on the caste system, child marriage, child widows, and exploitation of women and the lower classes.
The Author uses her skillful storytelling and creates compelling characters you love, loathe, or want to see justice done to. All shades of life are depicted by the very many characters spread throughout the book. You see the protagonists struggle before they decide that the life they have been given will not be the life they will live.
There is a heavy price to pay for ignorance and education is the most important gift we can give to ourselves and others is the underlying lesson this book instills. This book also shows us that it is never too late to find the courage within, and build it till it is strong enough for you to use as a weapon against ignorance.
Wow or Not Now? I haven’t read the original book in Bengali, called ‘Narach’, which seems to have a cult following as does the author, Debarati Mukhopadhyay. However, kudos to Arunava Sinha for the smooth and riveting translation. The eye-catching cover, which looks like a painting, deserves a special mention.
What Else? The book is a heavy read, and by that, I don’t mean by the number of pages. It makes us realize that the freedom we have today, and take for granted, was made possible by the struggles of so many women who did not enjoy any of it.
Spread the love