Book review | They Go To Sleep by Saugata Chakraborty

Author: Saugata Chakraborty

Genre: Short stories 

No. of pages: 97

Published on: 5th January 2019

Published by: Notion Press 

Format: Paperback 

My rating: ★★★☆☆

A young widow of a drug overdose victim disappears from Goa. Three years later, a British National claims to know her whereabouts minutes before departing for London Heathrow. The Police of two states is pressed into a joint manhunt. 'They Go to Sleep' is a racy thriller on police procedure and criminal psychology.

In the year 2043, when nobody sends a letter anymore, an unlikely candidate decides to write about his springtime memories that are soon going to be erased. When his identity gets revealed, the impact on several individuals and the society at large assumes epic proportions. 'A Man of Letters' is a science fiction with humane emotions at its core.

A promising poet meets his muse on board a train. They share a captivating conversation but forget to ask each other's name. Will they be able to meet again in an Indian metro? 'What's In a Name?' is a humorous look at everything Bengali: gossip, fish, cutlets and the Kolkata Book Fair.

These three stories are joined by nine equally exhilarating tales of ordinary people and the choices that they make under extraordinary circumstances. The compilation will surely compel the readers to keep their midnight lamps burning.

The book is a compilation of 12 short stories by the author. Each, very different to the others. From science fiction to romance, it has all. The cover of the book gives a dark, sinister look and captures the theme of the stories very well. Majority of the stories are mysteries. I especially loved the first story, 'They Go To Sleep' (also the namesake of the book). One or two stories are short romances that are sure to put a smile on your face. The last story, 'What's in a Name?', where a boy who met a girl in the train and forgot to ask her name, is a tenderly sweet story about how the boy frantically searches for her. This one was my favourite out of the rest. 

The author also deftly incorporates stories across the country. While one story covers the terrorism in Kashmir, another one stretches across Goa. And now just different states of India, the author has penned down stories about different communities as well. 

Though a few stories were a bit difficult to grasp and I had to do a double take and start reading from the beginning again, each of the story leaves an imprint in your head. My personal favourites are 'Rare', 'It Was Time' and 'What's in a Name?' 

The prose has been written in simple and east words. But I found the narration a bit complicated. For a few stories, I had to reread the story to understand what was exactly happening. For some, I felt completely lost until the last page of the story.

Overall, this comprehensive short story collection was an entertaining and light read for me. This book is best read between two heavy-weighted books, as a quick read. 

Saugata is a Central Banker with experience in fields as varied as currency management, human resource planning, financial supervision, foreign exchange dealing, and market intelligence. His career with the Reserve Bank of India has taken him literally to all the parts of India. In his leisure, he likes to travel even more, picking up conversations with absolute strangers along his way, within and outside the country. A voracious reader since his primary schooling days, his foray into creative writing in English started in early teens and gathered steam while studying in the University of Calcutta for his post-graduation in Accounting. He is a Certified Associate of the Indian Institute of Banking and Finance and holds A Certificate in Dealing from ACI, Paris. Trained in Corporate Communications at IIM-Ahmedabad, he is as good a listener as a narrator. In between the University and the RBI, Saugata was briefly associated with academics and both his past students and he cherish the memories from that era till date. Even now, he continues to deliver speeches on different aspects of financial markets and frauds in institutes across the country. His other muse is wildlife photography and he is passionate about the conservation of endangered species. 

I got the book as a part of the review program in Outset


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