BOOK REVIEW: 'THERE'S GUNPOWDER IN THE AIR' by Manoranjan Byapari

NOT LETTERS ON PAPER, THIS IS SPARK OF FIRE! 

BOOK: THERE'S GUNPOWDER IN THE AIR
AUTHOR: MANORANJAN BYAPARI
TRANSLATOR: ARUNAVA SINHA
PUBLISHER: EKA (WESTLAND AMAZON)
PUBLICATION: 2019

ABOUT:
'THE JCB PRIZE for literature SHORTLISTED 2019'
'THE DSC PRIZE LONGLISTED 2019'

AMAZON: ENGLISH BENGALI

REVIEW: Some stories are not really stories, they are testimonial of revolution, memorandum of unsung events. 'There's Gunpowder in the Air' is one of them.

It's really hard to describe this rare book. Don't be fooled by guessing it as a jail break story, it's far from it, as I said earlier, it's fire, blazing fire!

Manoranjan Byapari has an intensely tragic life story, you should know. It's unbelievable to think how he managed to write so much novels, with so much class! Or maybe his life events actually made him such a genius writer. He was the eye witness of the story he wrote. But still he manages to write a story with neutral point of view.  He didn't express any hatred or support to anyone of the police, state or naxalite. Despite of witnessing everything, including the dark ones, he stayed polite & calm in his descriptions or at least pretended so. And another time, don't be fooled by its calmness, it's appeal is so aggressive, you can't just bear!

Byapari's literature talent was flourished by Mahasweta Devi, the legend. And her influences are evident everywhere. Byapari described the characters minutely, patiently but without any fabrication. Characters are raw, you can smell their rawness! He highlighted the poor characters (not just economically, but by fortune) more than the major ones. He created some unforgettable characters, from Bhojon, Bhogoban, Doctor to Bandagewala. So it is absolutely a character driven novel.

Byapari's writing made the jail a fully different thing unlike your expectations. It's like a different dimensional place, where there is it's own rules, people, king, politics & everything. The novel revolves around the thoughts of everyone in the jail. He showed that Naxalite is not just some group of boys, it's a suppressed gene, anyone, even without any comrade spirit, can turned naxal.

The writing style is brilliant. Without any fabrications, it's light allegory hits hard. Flow is so smooth. Writer keeps changing the pace of storytelling zero to that of light, without disturbing his readers, its a rare success. The last three chapters are like a melancholic poetry. No matter why you picked this book, you can't put it down for sure.

All said and done. I know my review can't justify it's brilliance but I can ensure you that you haven't experience anything like it. For various reasons it's a must read. But just for one reason pick it - it's not like an ordinary fiction, it's monumental true story pointing towards a revolution that never really happened!

And absolutely thanks to Mr Arunava Sinha for his brilliant translation and to bring this masterpiece in limelight & to make it an award favourite!

OVERALL RATING:  5/5

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