Her Resurrection: A Survivor’s Journey of Emancipation, Reclamation and Redemption by Soumyadeep Koley: A Book Review

Image result for emancipation and her resurrection

Toni Morrison, considered as one of the best American writers, popped in my mind while reading it. Most of her works deal with slavery , discrimination against  Blacks, both men and women. Most of them also have scenes about rape, inhumane treatment, degradation- something that breaks my heart  and gets my dander up  at the point I run into those parts.Like Toni Morrison’s writing style, Soumyadeep Koley‘s in his debut is “stripped naked”, audacious, full of beautiful and inspiring snippets and thus engaging and compelling.  In other words, it can be a candidate for an eye-opening book that can make a difference , not only to India  but also to all nations.

Meet Maya, the protagonist, young, ambitious, a daughter of a farmer, but debased by her father as a burden to society. Because of the near rape incident, her father will  marry her off to a man older than her. But  she will resist;instead, she will come to an agreement with the man’s father by letting her be educated first. All she wants is to learn how to speak English and read a thick English book. Not satisfied, she wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree, but her husband-to- be, along with his father, will disagree and insult her.Because of Maya’s full resistance and determination, the man will gang-rape her resulting in her family’s  total humiliation and catastrophe. Her father  will die after his attempt to kill her , and her mother will be sent to jail. To get out of the prejudice, she will venture out in Mumbai where her life will be more miserable; she will be raped for the second time and forced into prostitution. Also, there, she will have the chance to prove her ability to keep up with men in terms of job. However, since men are superior and women are nothing , she will not get ahead in her dreams. Instead, she will fall short…Her story goes on with more and more miseries, and I can’t stand telling them any longer. You read it.

The highlights of the novel are its horrendous  rape scenes, prostitution, the protagonist’s brave face off with police and her failures to  get her dreams, and beautiful snippets. So, hold yourself and take a deep breathe. You might not stand it as you keep on turning the next pages.

The title of the novel  perfectly goes with the real concept of the story: Her Resurrection: A Survivor’s Journey of Emancipation, Reclamation and Redemption , since it  apparently paints a portrait of feminism . Women are still  culturally considered lower, decorations, slaves in India’s social class. Women or girls  who are  fully aware of their social position muster up enough courage to break this wall of rotten culture. They make point of surviving the world they don’t belong to by standing up to it despite the travails they can go through. In the end, like  Blacks during slavery period in America, they  will shed blood , endure,suffer until they  achieve the desired freedom without discrimination, degradation, prejudice, ostracism, and so on.

The story makes much of rape and prostitution which the author must want to point out  that  men deluded into virility or sense of masculinity use such destructive weapon to inflict upon defenseless women- something realistic and must be addressed  even up to this day  , not just  by  conservative  but also  modernly free nations.

To make the heart-wrenching  story somehow soothing, the novel  is also embellished with  literary elements  such as photography , psychiatry, and psychology which reflect the author’s educational and work  background, and I don’t think they undermine the foundation of the story. In addition , Koely’s prose and quotes are  absorbing. If it were not his beautiful sentences, the story would be wincing.

Here are my favorite quotes :

“Since my childhood, I’ve always dreamed to be a soldier. As I grew up and stepped into the twenty-first century, I came to realize that India needs more soldiers not to go to war, but to support the pivotal battle of the nation- to fight for women who have been debased and devolved by patriarchy and misogyny, since time immemorial, in order to reclaim the rights that have always been rightfully theirs.”

“Reality is very hard. Life is harder. It should be worked upon, not dreamt. Dreams should have a place in your mind only in the night, not after you wake up.”

“Time can change everything- from kings to paupers, from settlers to drifters, from lovers to strangers, and from girls to ragdolls.”

“Life is the sum of the choices you make. There’s nothing called destiny, neither anything is written It is the difference between a small ‘yes’ and ‘no’.”

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. Don’t let your past define your future.”

“Some things in life are priceless. They can never be repaid off or repaid with.”

This is a novel we should  give a round of thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap! Heed me folks!  You read it. I am sure, you can’t bring yourself to proceed to another heart-wrenching parts and end up  liking it a whole lot. Then, you will act like a child pulling  your friends’, publishers’ , or writers’ crumpled hems to draw their attention to it. He can be a promising writer. I bet my  boots.

Congratulations  to Mr. Soumyadeep Koley on his debut novel! 🙂

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

A Son of the Circus by John Irving: A Book Review

Somewhere in a vacuous universe of this tube, Joey bumped into GR.

Joey: Hi, you look familiar with me. Have we met before? You must be … one of my friends on Good Reads!

GR: Oh, yeah! You are …Joey! ( overwhelmed )

Joey: And you are …GR! Oh, it’s nice to see ya here! ( shaking hands with GR)

GR: Oh, yeah! As though we haven’t seen each other for ages! ( laughs)
( then she saw a book Joey holding) Oh, you must be reading something. ( trying to look through it) Wait ! wait! Wait! You have been reading John Irving’s ?

Joey: ( hiding the book behind his back ) Ah,huh…er… I have. ( smiling )

GR: What’s the title?

Joey: Ah…er..A Son of the Circus.

GR: Oh, really? Wait! ( thinking ) Is not that on the list of 1001 Best Novels of All Time? ( giggling)

Joey: Oh, yeah! You are right!

GR: I said it. So,what do you think of it?( excited )

Joey: Ah.. er..Well, H-how bout you? What have you been reading?

GR : Oh, I have just finished a chicklit by Rainbow Rowell. OMG! It’ terrific. I recommend you read it. It’s heart-breaking!In fact, it won …..

Joey: Oh, really?

GR: So , Is John Irving’s interesting?

Joey: Er..I think I have heard a lot of good things about Rowell. I would love to read hers too.

GR: Oh, yeah ! Come on! Get on with it! Then, let me know what you think of it. I am so excited !What was it again? Oh, yeah! It is John…

Joey : Ah,( looking at his watch ) er.. I am sorry! I’ve got to go! Nice to meet you again, GR. Chat you on Good reads. ( walking past him in a hurry)

GR: Er..H-how about …? Wait! ( waving his hand ) Ok. ( watching him fading away ) …Is there something the matter with the book? ( muttering under his breath, despaired)

When GR was home, he logged into his Goodreads account. The first message popped was from Joey’s.

To: GR
From: Joey

Hi, GR. I’ve checked that you haven’t read A Son of the Circus by John Irving’s yet.Well, I don’’t wanna be a spoiler. If you wanna read it, have LONG PATIENCE.
Otherwise, you might end up laying it to rest.
Good luck!


At last, I finished this 708 –page novel since I had let it on my study table collect mote of dust as well as get stuck and musty in my currently-reading list on Goodreads for a year. Gee, at that time I still found it very humorous, replete with amusing themes I could not find from other novels, as well as I was impressed by its firs immortal THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP ( 4 stars ). In fact, I was tempted to read first thereupon buying his A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR because I was fascinated by its softbound cover. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. So, automatically, I gave it 1 star. And for the second time around, A SON OF THE CIRCUS is somewhat less disappointing than the former . What’s the matter? In effect, doubtless , John Irving is a gifted writer. I liked the fact that he is able to write such ambitious novels as though he does not have to deal with a writer’s block, as if he never runs out of any ideas. Besides, it is amazing of him to jumble up his different themes together in the same concept. On the other hand, since it is now my third novel, I am now getting more familiar with his writing style than that I found out why I gave both A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR and this one 1 star. First, Irving loves dilly-dallying with his stories as I thought of before. He tends to beat around the bush. He does not stick to the main story. Rather, he tells more details about a superficial situation I am not very much familiar with. . Who cares? Thus, the narrator sounds to be blabbering.

Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!

Furthermore, I have noticed that John Irving loves repeating the same stories in the other chapters in a sense that they are all connected- a writing style that is doubtless very rare among other writers. However, such style is persistent in a sense that it ends up a pain in the ass. Imagine a plot goes like this :

Chapter 1 : You read a story …………………..blah! blah! blah!
Chapter 2: You read another story…….then here it goes again, the same with Chapter 1…blah! blah! blah!

I am telling you. You need a considerable amount of long patience to finish it.

Granted that this is less disappointing, I believe that this is still a masterpiece. For me , any piece of literary work is a labor of writing skills. Alas, it’s beyond my taste. But as the cliché goes,” There must be the method to Irving’s madness.”, and this is on what I want to be shed light someday.

I still have his two novels more on my shelf: A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY and UNTIL I FIND YOU. I wonder if he wrote them with the same style. Dear me!