Monday, July 4, 2022

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Divakaruni is the author of 20 books, the latest being the award-winning historical novel, The Last Queen.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Lonesome Flight by Dipak Gupta

This first novel depicts a powerful and tragic story known to too few. It is the story of the Naxalite terrorist movement in India in the 1960s that seduced and claimed many promising young lives. Set in Calcutta, the city I grew up in, Gupta’s novel resonated with me because of its authentic details and the writer’s keen eye. It is also a moving love story, and an adventure rife with secrets and betrayals, violence and redemption. I loved the way the novel surprised me as it moved from the bustle of the city to the lives of tribals in remote forests of Bengal.

Reading, I felt that this insightful fictional depiction of how bright young minds are recruited into becoming terrorists is particularly timely because of the distressing growth of terrorist cells worldwide today, as well as the resurgence of the Naxalite movement in India. It is a story for the world.

Researching a bit, I discovered that the novel was centered around an experience that Gupta himself lived through. The experience he fictionalizes left such a powerful mark on him that he decided to dedicate his life to the study of terrorism. He is now a distinguished professor emeritus of Sociology at San Diego State University.

Perhaps this is why Lonesome Flight has so many incidents of wrenching authenticity that add to its appeal.
Visit Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's website.

The Page 69 Test: Oleander Girl.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Queen.

--Marshal Zeringue