I am always searching for good Indian authors and good Indian fiction. Kunal Basu's The Japanese wife meets all my requirements plus it is a short story collection - my favourite form of fiction!!
The highlight of course is the title story of The Japanese wife - soulful, serene and beautiful love story between two cultures which are more similar than different. The author does full justice and leaves you with a warm feeling that love is a feeling which no one can explain but only feel. It's beyond society, traditions, marriage, physical needs and proximity.
Kunal Basu has travelled widely and he uses his experiences to create this marvellous collection with stories based in Russia, Beijing, Indonesia, Yugoslavia, Philippines, Chad and our very own India from Kolkata-Sunderbans, to Delhi- Agra, to Pondicherry and Kerela. He clearly presents himself as a traveller-narrator who meets new people and characters on his journeys and shares their stories and lives. He beautifully presents the lifestyle, traditions and cultures of these places through these stories and you get to feel the historical, political, social and economic state in these far off places. The link between Communist revolution of Russia and Kolkata, Ramayana thru the eyes of Dalang the puppeteer in Indonesian wayang performances, Indian roots in French occupied Chad, Russian dancer in Bengali theatre .. the versatility of Mr Basu's creativity and ability to find and weave pearls of stories and anecdotes is brilliant.
My next step is of course to catch the Film adaptation of The Japanese wife by Aparna Sen and Rahul Bose playing Snehamoy. I am sure they both would have taken the story a notch higher. It would be interesting to know who R is to whom Mr Basu has dedicated this book to... someone special of course.