Thwarted Escape : An immigrant’s Wayward Journey – A Review
How do you review a book that is so close to your heart that you feel a maternal pride just looking at it?
How do you review a book that you have seen grow from a manuscript to a print edition?
How do you review a book that is written by an author, who is like a sister?
I guess there is no other way, but to be completely, utterly, honest about how I feel. I have been deferring writing a review for a long time now even though I finished the book about two months ago, the reason being every time I sat down to write words failed me. The book is so powerful in content, language, imagery, emotions that I felt that I will never be able to do justice to a piece of work like this.
The manuscript had been a Journey Awards recipient (2014), hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media, and also very recently been placed as Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival 2017 (Category: memoir/autobiography)
There is a beautiful foreword written by Dr. Santosh Bakaya, which impeccably describes the spirit of the book, which I would like to quote here, “We are there with her in her inner sojourns, and also there listening to the rumblings of her pent-up thunder.”
Lopamudra Banerjee’s Thwarted Escape is a memoir of her journey from a girl into a woman, from her own country to an unknown land, from being a mother to a motherless daughter, from a lover to a wife, all blending into one another. Her dreams and realities merge into this enchanting narrative to tell us about how she made through it all.
Her language is lucid, poetic, interspersed with a vocabulary that is both poignant and mesmerizing. Every line she writes feels like has been dipped in the ink of her soul and put into paper. This book is not for someone who is looking for a light and easy read. This is for the serious reader who is willing to invest time into the voyage of a woman’s life. It is for the readers who like to search their own soul for the answers missing from their lives.
Banerjee in her preface says, “Eight years later, when I look back at the day I started to shape this journey, I am overwhelmed by how reminiscence, self-interrogation, anger, hopelessness, despair and a childlike surrender to hope and empathy has given birth to this wayward journey.” and you can feel as you turn the pages the amount of hard work, pain and faith has gone into this book. this book is literally made from the blood and sweat of the author. Each chapter can be read as an individual essay from the author’s life or you could read the book in it’s entirety and be spellbound at the magnificent job the author has done with it.
It is a memoir, you have to read it yourselves to find how well you connect with it. I would recommend it to all readers who love beautiful language, poetic verses, the themes of alienation, immigration, feminism, adaptation, motherhood, womanhood, defiance against patriarchy to name a few.
I will leave you with a few lines from a favourite portion of mine, from the chapter Thwarted Escape
“I return to the chaos and bickering inside the quite confines of my parents’ home in Barrackpore, to see a broken fragment of my own being, still lurking behind the dark corners of the rooms I had left behind. I return as the dutiful daughter-in-law to a broken and scattered home of in-laws emerging in my life time and again, as a river with secret tides I am obliged to navigate. I return, time and again, to the absurdities of a Bengali household I had so despised and escaped years back. I come back to them, not as as the restless, rebel woman, simmering with existential questions, not as a demure bride who didn’t understand shameless traditions of adaptation in a strange family of people who spoke less, felt less. I come back, as a traveler in time, to feel my frazzled self, and to pick up my own scattered pieces and recognize the weightless limbo of a world that inhabits me now.”
I dare say this is not a book, it is a piece of art, own it.
Please Note: This is not a commissioned review