From the powerhouse of Saurav Dutt, the latest offering is a collection of four stories – By the Shadows and the Sunlight – released worldwide in December 2021.
The book offers four long stories, of which two are purely of horror genre. The first story ‘Scenes from a Kolkata Side Street’ narrates the woeful and confounding state of Sujata, an NRI from Canada. She comes to Kolkata to pay a few rites of passage to her dead father. But she is startled by a stranger and her brother and mother. All gives different reasons for his death. She is bamboozled by a fabric of lies. All her enthusiasm towards the home country fades away as she flies back to Canada with no truth in her basket. Society’s nature is not only rude but also intriguing. Yet this story can be remembered for finely describing the hustle-bustle life of streets and roads of Kolkata. Something about Kolkata is inherent in this story, in fact in Saurav Dutt’s books.
Next two stories: An Abandoned Whisper and A Summon that Flickers are about ghosts and falls under the purview of horror genre. The last story (The Girl with the Blue Jeans) is a dedication to Neha Paswan, the girl who was killed by her relatives upon wearing jeans and being modern in her views. Her story is elaborate and takes a dig at the dark patriarchy of the society. The villagers labeled her a whore, drug addict, and much more. In fact, she wanted to come out of the village life to build her own, but unfortunately she was not accepted by the rudimentary patriarchal roots of her village. They justified her death.
All stories are long that they can be read as independent novellas. Like most of the time, Saurav Dutt raises voice against the devils of the society. This time he chose the ugly and arrogant side of the Indian patriarchal society.
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About the Author:
SAURAV DUTT is a TIME magazine featured novelist of fiction and nonfiction works and a political analyst. His debut novel, The Butterfly Room, was a Notable Book of the Year in The Los Angeles Times and The Indian Express. His journalism, essay, works and reviews have appeared in Esquire, VICE, The Guardian, CNN, Newsweek, Huffington Post, International Business Times, The Times of Israel, London Review of Books and The Times Literary Supplement. His books have been short-listed and featured at the London and Frankfurt book fairs, Kolkata Book Festival and BookExpo America amongst media outlets as varied as Sky News, BBC, Marie Claire, Russia Today, to name but a few. He wrote the official novelization of the major motion picture Tiger, featuring Award Winning Actor Mickey Rourke, which subsequently featured on Netflix. He resides in the United Kingdom and India.