Calcutta Exile is set in Calcutta a decade after partition, the novel explores what happens to people when momentous change happens. Bunny Suraiya’s ‘Calcutta Exile’ talks about the onslaught of a bygone era and its ramifications on one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It also raises questions about individual and collective identities, but the most important question being: where is home?
The narrative and writing style of the book is impeccable! Being from Kolkata and raised in a convent school with very strong Anglo Indian set up, the background is very identifiable! the best thing being, the set up is so vividly narrated you can actually visualize the story unfurling in front of you, and you dont really need a Kolkata connection to connect to the book. Brilliant read for all the right reasons. It addresses the plight of Anglo Indians who found it hard to related to a land they have been adopted, and long to go back however realize that Home is not a piece of land but a sense of belonging.
The Anglo-Indian Robert is a gloomy seer in his own country—whichever that may be. Since independence, Robert has been longing to “go home”, to the England he has never been, and to which he is believes he belongs to. “We were the top dogs when the English were here,” he tells Grace. “And now these bloody Indians will kick us in our backsides and take everything from us.” these excepts grip the very essence of the book. An amazing read, gives you a colonial hangover, portrays the Calcutta we all love and relate to. A must read.
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