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. )