‘Sale of Souls’ is a realistic romantic English novel based remarkable story of struggle for land and love. In the post globalization era there has been an increase in the land acquisition for the new developmental projects. Caught in between the powerful lobbies of the rich and the powerful, the gullible villagers are fighting to retain their ancestral village for survival and livelihood. Roshni, a young girl from the village, who has just enrolled as an advocate, joins the poor villagers to fight the powerful lobby of industrialists and politicians. Samar as a protagonist trying for a peaceful solution to all the issues in the village with his approach of 'sustainable development' finds himself in love. The story is set in a remote village on the coast of Canara, known for its beautiful environment and bio-diversity. The story revolves around the sensitive issue of conflict of the poverty and development vs. the environment.
We have all heard the metaphorical phrase that says ‘never judge a book by its cover’. This book is a prime example of why. When I received this book through The Bookaholics, I was not sure what to expect from it. The title is intriguing but the cover felt a bit mundane. Its only after I finished reading the book, the story, the title and the cover came together to make perfect sense.
Set in the backdrop of beautiful Canara region, ‘Sale of Souls’ tell the stories of people involved in and acquisition for the new developmental projects their mentality and the overall situation. Standing out of the crowd are Roshni and Samar – and this is kind of their story too. Roshni, a fresh and new face in the world of law, does her best to rally the people together and stand up against powerful businessmen and politicians and make her voice heard. On the other hand is Samar, a professor who is all for ‘sustainable’ development and is looking for a peaceful solution that would appease all. In their stark contrast of approach and belief, Roshni and Samar find themselves growing closer as the climax of their situation also draws to a close.
Being from Bengal and having followed the Tata Nano/Nadigram issue, this story strikes a chord in my heart. Even with the dramatised versions of each event/situation being flashed on the news channels, we never actually got the whole picture and that fact is very clear after reading this particular novel. The author has expertly drawn a portrait of a situation that is very much relevant to our society at present times.
The characters are well developed and the author has done a really good job of handling two parallel story lines together. Though Roshni and Samar’s relationship gets some focus, it never overshadows the main theme of the novel - conflict of the poverty and development vs. the environment. And particularly for that the author deserves a round of applause. Also, his style of narration is awesome where his words gives a certain flow to the story. Detailed description and right amount of dialogues make this an entertaining read.
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