Book review | Etchings of the first quarter of 2020 by Sabarna Roy

Author: Sabarna Roy

Genre: Non-fiction, poetry

No. of pages: 102

Published on: 24th June 2020

Published by: Leadstart Publishing 

Format: Hardcover

My rating: ★★★★☆

To readers of Sabarna Roy’s Random Subterranean Mosiac: 2012 – 2018, his latest slim and elegant volume titled Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020: Letters, Ideas, Conversations and Poems comes as another delightful read. In this two-part volume, packaged with a selection of his poems, Roy explores the concepts of duality and constancy in discussions with his daughter. Presented as conversations over coffee and desserts, the talks extend to diverse topics with Lolita at one end and marine conservation at the other. In his poems, Roy and his alter-ego, Sandy, soothe and shock you in turns until you burst out of the last page, breathless and asking for more.

Sabarna Roy’s characters are all around us. He has dabbled in poetry, prose, plays and non-fiction with equal elan and delved into the emptiness and futility of life reminding us of the masters in the trade.
Two quotations from Sabarna Roy’s works will prove the above stated point:
“A question leapt into his mind: Is it possible to achieve true happiness by living a solitary life or is it important to lead a community life where one instinctively believes that one’s own desires are insignificant compared to the desires of others and one works towards fulfillment of their desires as if they are one’s own?

Have you ever wondered if everyday conversations could be bound in a book? Etchings of the first quarter of 2020 is one such book. Author Subarna Roy pens down simple day-to-day conversations between him and his step-daughter and his wife in this book. This conversations are awe-inspiring, thought-provoking and intriguing. This book is divided into 4 sections. 

Part A comprises of the author's letters to his step-daughter Tulip. He talks about his Kolkata Literary Meet and talks about journals and anxiety and marine conservation. His letter has a beautiful melancholy. At one point he compares himself to Tulip's biological father. He writes a poem in the letter which is about his alter-ego Sandy. 

Part B is a letter to his wife Suranjana. After attending a session 'dark side if the mind' KLM the author has an interesting take on Lolita. 

Part C comprises of some late night conversations between father and daughter - from Tagore's Ghare Baire to Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina; from schizophrenia to marine conservation, the father-daughter dua have a lot to talk about. It's an interesting exchange of ideas and ideals. Though these conversations are written in an short essay format, it feels like people like you and me engaging in a meaningful chat.

The fourth section has a collection of winter poems written by the author in 2020. One of them is about a person dying while we get to see the scenario outside in the winter rains (January 11). Another poem is the author's ode to his love for the city where he covers the myriad face of the city - from the riches to the poverty, from the old men in the city to the children (January 13). Each of these poems tell you a story. And this book is meant to be enjoyed with a warm cup of tea or coffee on a wintry evening.

Sabarna Roy is the author of five books: Pentacles, Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems, and Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 - 2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts. A civil engineer by profession (he passed out from Jadavpur University in 1988), Roy spends his time on books, music, movies and international television series, when he is not writing or at work in an engineering-manufacturing organization in Kolkata. With no love for pets or gardening (although he loves forests and wildlife) or socializing, and a lot of time for introspection and deep (and not-so-deep!) thinking, Roy’s works reflect his views on the global order and individuals striving to find their place in it.

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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