Book Review on Saugata Chakraborty’s They Go To Sleep

The short story genre is as old as mankind or language itself and has always spellbound the readers. Be it the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, Anton Chekhov, Tolstoy, Somerset Maugham, Guy De Maupassant , Saki , the twist- in- the tale stories of O’ Henry or the short, succinct, crisp stories of Ernest Hemingway, stories of different hues have been grabbing readers’ attention, offering them a buffet of literary feast and pleasure since times immemorial.

“They Go To Sleep” by Saugata Chakraborty is a deeply engaging anthology of twelve short stories which reflect a gamut of human emotions. The book begins with an aesthetically and artistically created foreword by Brazil Shaiikh, Author and Former Principal Chief General Manager, Reserve Bank of India. The well-written foreword not only heightens the beauty of the work but also bursts an old fossilised myth about the bankers. The foreword writer has a pertinent opinion when he asserts that most of the modern bankers are highly articulate and richly creative. This fact gets corroborated when one journeys through the various stories mesmerisingly conceived and conveyed by Saugata Chakraborty in his recent book. What first draws the attention of the reader is the catchy cover picture which has a greater significance in regards to all these tales. The uniquely designed cover lends a perfect backdrop to the each tale encased in this collection.

Dwelling on the idea of divine, we the mortals often remark that mysterious are the ways of God. Undeniably, anything that remains shrouded in the layers of mystery begets a profoundest sense of curiosity in us. Similarly, in no manner, It would be hyperbolic to state that mysterious are the ways of the author of this book. Here the mystery element is all pervasive and rules the roost throughout the book. It is one of the most predominant literary devices with which the author consummately erects the pyramid of this book and keeps the readers on the tenterhooks. In order to validate this mystery device, the ready reference is available in the very first title story “They Go To Sleep”. The readers remain on the edge of their reading chairs unless the suspense case is resolved. The following Tale “Six Days, Seven Lives” appears to be incoherent initially and the readers may momentarily get the feel of distractions and diversions but as the story reaches its climax, it leaves the readers all agog and fully astounded with the resolution of the mystery. Unpredictability is an art with which the author is well versed. This skill of unpredictability turns out to be a passport to popularity and success in the case of this skillful and deft raconteur.

“Blowing in The Wind” is though another short story but it has the elements of a picaresque novel, a genre which was widely practiced and popularised by the famed novelists like Don Quixote and Henry Fielding while writing their works like “Cervantes” and “Tom Jones” and “Joseph Andrews.” respectively. One of the Chief characteristics of a Picaresque novel is that it always contains a story within a story. The writer Chakraborty seems to be influenced by the harbingers of the Picaresque novels and thus he too deftly employs the technique of a story within a story in his tale “Blowing in The Wind” and succeeds quite well in enhancing the literary merit of the book.

The collection is loaded with a number of tales that make them stand out and tall because of the abundance of mystifying twists and turns. At times, the readers find themselves in a tizzy and gather the impression that the story is going astray and haywire. But when the concluding segment of the story is unfolded, the every chip of the jigsaw puzzle falls to its properly designated position, much to the literary gratification and satisfaction of the readers. The ghastly and gory crimes surface in certain stories but they do not bring the bile out in the mouth as the writer appears to have deliberately refrained from sketching their unsettling detailed description. Therefore,, no tale can be dubbed as macabre.

While analysing the linguistic competence of the writer, it can be satisfactorily sensed that the writer is well conversant with the nuances of English language and unravels his mystery laden tales through a slew of sublime stylistic devices of high order. The characters have the quality of Aristotelian ‘Probability’, though the three unities of time place and action (as described in the Poetics by Aristotle ) have not been fully adhered to. In fact, most of the modern writers do not stick to the conventional principle and practice of the much talked about three unities in literature. They are rightly of the opinion that literature is a mirror of society. It reflects the real image of the society, the authors are living in and writing about. So, when chaos is all pervasive in our modern age, how can there be a harmonious unity in the modern literary pieces. To conclude, the book depicts the harsh realities and unpalatable truths of our times and thus it becomes a must read for all the sections of the readers.

About the Author

Saugata Chakraborty 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. 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 memories from that era till date.

About the Interviewer

Dr Prof. Shiv Sethi is an internationally acclaimed columnist, literary critic and book reviewer. He has reviewed the works of the most famous authors form across the globe.