02 September, 2019

#BookReview :: The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

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It was a twist of fate that Saikat and Suvashini landed in Agartala together and that their paths kept crossing. Or was it? For Saikat, it was a piece of stone with a sanskrit inscription that he found at a pavement seller’s stall that drew him in. For Suvashini, it was a book in the library that she couldn’t find when she returned for it and couldn’t even find it in the library’s database. It was piece of our country’s forgotten history that beckoned them both to Tripura and put them in each other’s path for their lives to be changed forever.

The book tells two parallel stories. One set in the 1900s and the other towards the close of 2016 & the beginning of 2017. As the book progresses, the readers are lead to draw connections between the two stories and how they are bound together. Some may even say that it is after all the same story with its chapters playing out almost a century apart. However, the author focuses mainly on our modern day protagonists to help play out the drama that had started a century ago. Through Saikat and Suvashini, he takes us on what feels like a treasure hunt. The interest that the book and the stone invoke in our young protagonists lead to something that the readers will not be able to see coming, maybe until the very end. 

The protagonists, Saikat and Suvashini, felt very fickle to me at the beginning. It felt like they were taking on a journey on a whim. But as the story picks up pace, you get to see their characters develop and by the end of it, it feels like that they were, after all, best suited for this adventure. There are quite a few other characters that play a part in the saga that unfold in the pages. I cannot disclose much about them without revealing some spoilers, but yes, they play their roles in it perfectly. The one thing that I particularly liked about the book is the fact that in a time when most writers use vernacular words in their storytelling, the author has stuck to English for his narration. And though there is usage of Sanskrit words and Devanagari script, they are an essential part of the plot and completely justified. Plus, there are translations provided everywhere. The plot in itself is interesting. It took me quite a while to figure out where the story would go and even then there were quite a few things that I didn’t see coming. And the historical aspect of it only adds to the intrigue.

I am all about details and as such my only point that I can nitpick about this book is that I felt that there were places where the author could have provided more details with regarding to the settings. But at the same time I also understand that at 300 odd pages, it is already a big book, so the kind of details I expect would have probably slowed the pace and made it an even bigger book. 

To round up, ‘The Speaking Stone’ offers its readers a dose of history with adventure, mystery and slight drama in the mix. It will keep you engaged with the plot and the images and charts provided in the book helps the reader picturize everything clearly. Definitely worth a read… 

Review Copy received from the Author

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