Love at first sight! Well, that’s what happened to me when the mailman delivered a copy of Beetashok Chatterjee’s debut book ‘Driftwood.’ Yes, I did know that the book was a short story collection of sea tales. But, I wasn’t prepared for the euphoria of the first meeting.
It was the kind of pure joy that a child experiences in a fantastical candy land. The rugged book cover and its pages spoke volumes to me about the tales. I couldn’t wait to read them. Yet, I wasn’t prepared for the literary marvel neatly tucked inside this gem of a book.
‘Driftwood’ is MY kind of book—the kind that thrilled me during childhood and continues to do so years after.
So, without much ado, let me dwell straight into the review.
‘The Piano Man’ sets the tenor of the book on a good note.
‘Sapphire Blue,’ a nearly perfect short tale (if there ever was one), will haunt you for long for its beautiful and tender story.
‘Goldilocks and The Three Bears’ is Beetashok’s clever spin on the age-old fairy tale. A must-read!
‘The Hijack’ gets more interesting in the midsection and keeps you hooked from start to finish.
‘The Visitor’ is my favorite story in this collection, as it touched an emotional string or two in my core, and for its inspirational message.
I like the epistolary style and the premise of ‘Miss Me?’, of how the grass looks greener on the other side. It’s a good tale but could have been much more impactful if it took a reflective rather than a cursory glance at the dynamics of relationships.
I enjoyed the ‘Transition’ – the grandfather-grandson bond, and the comparison between the good old and modern seafarer days.
‘Smoke on the Water,’ ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ and ‘Reach for the Stars’ served as filler stories for me, which are nice to have, and yet, you don’t miss it if it’s not on the fare either.
The book ends with two more brilliant stories, ‘Little Girl Lost’ and ‘Just a Seaman,’ which leave an indelible impression on you with its sullen undertones.
Beetashok Chatterjee is a master tale spinner. The fact that he’s an avid reader sparkle in his effortless writing style. I cannot wait to read his next book. In the meanwhile, I’ve recommended this book to my non-reader husband who’s an adventurer at heart.
More than sea tales, ‘Driftwood’ is a story about human nature and its complex intricacies.
You can close your eyes and buy this book. It’s one of the finest works of contemporary Indian literature I’ve come across in a very long time. Unpretentious and simple, good old fiction!
Purchase link for ‘Driftwood’ by radiation Publications: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B07W3FL8H7/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1