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  Spring 2014          



 Spring 2014


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 Book Review

By Aruna Chakravarti
Publisher: Harper Collins India
Pages: 406 Price:  ₹ 350

 Jorasanko - the family mansion built by Rabindranath Tagore’s grandfather - is where the novel unfolds. The year is 1859 and the bedecked mansion is all set to welcome the seven-year-old bride Jnanadanandini  (also known as Genu) arriving at her marital home in a palanquin bearing the Tagore crest –  and married now to the sixteen-year-old Satyendranath Tagore, elder brother of poet Rabindranath Tagore and later the first Indian to enter the Indian Civil Service.

Hereon, the reader gets introduced to the captivating world that lies inside Jorasanko – and especially to the women of the Tagore family, who live in a microcosm of their own within the affluent and prosperous household. The meticulously researched novel describes the role the Tagores played in the Bengal Renaissance and other socio-political movements, and the strong and silent influence the Tagore women exerted on their menfolk. It is a fascinating study of life in an upper class household, of child brides growing up in their marital homes, of the delicate and intricate relationships within the extended family, of the rituals and the challenges of the time, of joys and tragedies that a family shares, of games children and adults play – and more.

 ‘Jorasanko’ transports one to a different world – one of unforgettable characters - the strong-willed matriarch Digambari; the conservative Sarada Sundari; the nonconformist Jnanadanandini ; the melancholic Kadambari; the scholarly Swarnakumari; and the gentle Mrinalini.

Written in an easy style, ‘Jorasanko’ is a very visual novel – leaves the reader with a nostalgic imagery of life in one of the most eminent homes of Bengal.



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