An Atlas of Impossible Longing
This a poignant love story spanning three periods of India’s turbulent history between 1907 and the mid 1950s and three generations of Amulya Babu’s family. As she traces the successive waves of love and loss that affect their lives, Anuradha Roy’s female characters loom larger than life: we witness Kananbala’s slow descent into dementia, Larissa Barnum’s fading beauty and the scandal of her long-kept secret, Meera’s imprisonment in traditional widowhood with its endless fasting and denial, and lastly Bakul herself, whose fiery spirit seems doomed to be quenched by the flood of monsoon waters that drowned her mother. But it’s also a true portrait of India and rich in detail and colours: from the exotic plants and flowers collected by Amulya himself and Bakul’s father, to the mysterious ruins of the fort at Songarh, and the noisy stench of Calcutta.
This is a story to be savoured for the beauty of the writing and the excellent construction, and above all because “life is made of brick and stone,” and even the most impossible longings can be achieved “brick by brick.”