The celebrated, critically acclaimed, and bestselling author Sabarna Roy’s latest book, titled: A Marriage, an Affair, and a Friendship, has been released worldwide on-line on November 15, 2021. It will be soon hitting the bookstores around India.
This is a story where Rahul, Paromita, Suroma and Samaresh bisect and intersect boundaries of marriage, affair, and friendship, evolving into an intriguing cocktail and mix of human relationship.
Sabarna Roy looks at a marriage, an affair, and a friendship in a very in-teresting, and a fast-paced prose and gravitates to the idea of an open marriage in a modernist setting. It is a highly enjoyable read that strikes at our prejudices and regressive thoughts in a subtle and fleeting manner. A must read. True to his style, Sabarna experiments within the format of prose writing inside a single piece of novella. A starkly visual human drama!
This novel/novella initiates goosebumps on its dedication page where it quotes from Octavio Paz: “If we are a metaphor of the universe, the human couple is the metaphor par excellence, the point of intersection of all forces and the seed of all forms. The couple is time recaptured, the return to the time before time.”
The novel/novella is divided into nineteen crisp and interestingly titled chapters: Meeting over coffee; An (in)decent proposal; I saw you this morning; Everything is clear in our world; The Museum of Innocence; A Friendship; Slow Beginnings; A Marriage; A Friendship; An Affair; Rethink. Recalibrate; We have a deal; Loosening the boundaries; Ambush; Judgement Day; It takes a village; Rekindle a fresh stream; In-person sperm donor, and A cog in the wheel.
The four memorable quotes from the book without giving away the plot of the story are as follows:
“Parent?” Suroma says. “Oh no, I’m not looking for a father for myself. I am looking for a father for the child I’d like to have.” Her words were so clear, so forceful that she might as well have banged her fist on the table. I’m. Looking. For. A. Father. For. The. Child. I’d. Like. To. Have.
“Call me conventional, but I am,” she says. “Only this time, the woman calls the shots. A woman who has a life of her own, a successful profession, her own social circles. Don’t look at me as the persecuted non-wife with a heaving chest singing doleful love songs into a moonlit night.”
One reads about couples in their dotage who claim that they have never been apart a single night. And no, we have never been one of those couples. So why this streak of anger that finally goes through me like a lightning bolt early one morning? I am not the kind of woman who flings pots and pans at her husband. I am also not the kind who sends expensive chinaware flying across the room to shatter into a million shards, each glinting in the sunlight streaming in through the morning light. I take the stack of books from his bedside table and march into the guest bedroom. When we redecorated our room, Rahul hunted far and wide for a set of hard bound copies of classics that he kept on his bedside table between two bookends that looked like hard bound books themselves. Now he is startled awake by the hardbound copy of Anna Karenina hitting him on the head. Dazed and disoriented, he is too slow to fend off Collected Plays of Eugene Ionesco Volume, #4, Wasteland, and The Museum of Innocence landing on his nose, flying past his ear, landing on the bed and on the floor, pages askew, some torn by the weight of the front and back cover pulling in different directions.
Samaresh holds his hands against his face in mock horror. “No babies for me, thank you very much! But talk you into a relationship with me. If that young lady saw a sauve, successful technocrat or a dreamy, soulful artist in Rahul, I saw a strong, charming, interesting woman in you or maybe I saw a sexy woman or maybe… who the hell knows? I just saw a woman I wanted to be with, Paro.”
Sabarna Roy is the author, who had said, “I started keeping diaries and journaling since the age of fourteen. It was as if a ritual with me. I wrote about everyday events; what happened at school; the films I watched; the books I read; the delicacies that I ate; the cricket matches that I played; conversations with my parents, school teachers, and friends; the places that I travelled with my parents; my moments of sadness, boredom, and elation, and so many other things. These diaries and journals over the years inflated like novels – as if written in a stream of consciousness. My first published book was an anthology of twenty English poems, titled: Pain, published in 1986 with a gift of rupees two hundred from my mother that sold in Jadavpur University, Presidency College and St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta like hot cake.”
“After I joined the Corporate sector, I wrote on and off in Bengali and English and published some of my poems in renowned literary journals in Calcutta. In 1994, I wrote a play in Bengali, titled: Ajante, which was later published in the annual journal of Bohurupee in 2010. Between 2002 and 2005, I became an oral storyteller among my friends, colleagues, and relatives, a habit which I started with a lot of passion but gradually waned with time. In 2007, I started writing seriously for pursuing my second profession apart from being a senior engineering professional. My first book Pentacles was published in 2010. Thereafter, I continued producing books-after-books both in the literary format as well as in the technological format.”
The memorable quotes of Sabarna Roy, which have been captured from his various public speeches are as follows:
“Make your stories less cluttered and lucid for your readers so that what you are trying to say behind the story expresses itself automatically.”
“Whatever strain of thoughts passes through my mind and in any form, I capture it in my writing.”
” I can tell you: there are two types of beauties on this planet, one, who lose their beauty to age, and another, who ripen with time.”
“I think the idea that life is an equalizer is one of the most beautiful things about life. What separates us from one another is not what we’ve gone through, but how we handle it. The choices that we make are what actually make our story. I only seek to capture this essence of life in each one of my poems or stories.”
“If we can see our fate in a face, we will chase it till death, not thinking about the consequences of such a chase.” It is expected that the latest out pouring from Sabarna Roy will soon become a national and an international bestseller.