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Book Review: They Go To Sleep by Saugata Chakraborty

Be it any day, reading short stories is delight to heart. In summer, you feel as the breeze is raving your heart, in rain you feel the drizzling over your head, and in winter you get groped in the mist. So, for a heart that has not picked up anthology since a long, may be because of some reasons, and now looking for a salubrious experience, go nowhere and pick up this – “They Go To Sleep” by Saugata Chakraborty.

“They Go To Sleep” by Saugata Chakraborty is a collection of twelve short stories. All stories are contemporary with modern-day backdrop, of course locations differing from one place to another. Glad, that the author has not nailed all stories at one place, like Ruskin Bond does in the foothills of the Himalaya. Some collections are plain, while some have a web of experience and imagination – well this collection belongs to the latter category.

“They Go To Sleep” is the title story, since the word ‘Other Stories’ is missing, at first impression the book sounded like a novella. Anyway, coming to the stories, the first one (They Go To Sleep) is a crime thriller and sets the mood of the reader. It’s a murder mystery. The takeaway from this story is that the author has shed light on the behavioral pattern of a culprit when he/she is convicted. A close look at the story reveals that a criminal goes to sleep peacefully when he/she is caught with full evidence. Another great aspect of this story is that the motive behind the murder, later on becomes the pain of the murderer. Without giving away much, we would like to say the name connection in the end may leave readers shuffling for warmth and convenience. Look at this: “That’s a long story for another day. For now I can only tell you that Juanita in Hebrew means “Gif from the God,” much the same as Datta in Bengali.”

Next story, Six Days, Seven Lives is quite a different story in the entire collection and you may need to read twice or thrice to get the undertones listed with it. The kind of variety presented in the anthology may keep you hooked up till last page, as in most of the collections somehow stories are interconnected or seem to have sprung from same landscape, but this one is completely different. For instance, A Man of Letters – in this story we see the letter writing as a relic that is no more considered a part of life in a technology or robots-oriented ecosystem. However, much attention has been paid to letter writing – it can’t be forgotten so easily. Do you agree…if yes, do read it.

All stories are open for healthy discussion, well that’s not the motive of this review, and the point is that this collection is worth keeping. Without sharing all about the book, we would say that Saugata’s efforts are worth noting. He is a fine writer with good knowledge about his surrounding, from past and present life scenarios, and above everything else, he has made the most use of that, which is evident when he describes places like Kolkata and Mumbai and other places.

It is a well-researched book; however, at times the author has chosen to weave unexpected twists and endings in the novel, which may disappoint you slightly as not all readers are receptive towards abrupt turns. Anyway, given a choice from the new and aspiring authors, you must try this one.  


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