Art & CultureArt/Culture/Literature

Book Review : Driftwood by Beetashok Chatterjee

Driftwood is a beautiful collection of short stories about the sea and seafarers. It captures a range of moods and emotions that are philosophical, poignant, quirky, surprising and tragic. It introduces the reader to the thrill of the beauty of the sea…. crime, pirates, fire, an accident, love, friendship, fraud, despair, betrayal…. the stories touch upon many themes, each story markedly different from the other.

Behind the eye catching cover, Chatterjee’s stories blend the wise old soul of the ancient mariner with the freshness (and folly) of a young sailor thirsting for adventure.
What stands out for me is the artfully drawn out suspense in the narratives, through which a range of unique characters reveal themselves. The author’s words have a deceptively soft touch and I found myself overpowered by emotion at unexpected places and junctures, as I navigated the anthology.
The stories I like most are, ‘The Piano Man’ which started as a simple story but surprised me at the end with a twist . ‘The Hijack’ is an adventure story of corruption in high places and the dangers it brings to a seaman’s life. ‘Reach for the Stars’ is another such story, suspenseful and thrilling. My personal favourite is ‘Stairway to Heaven’, a story of blossoming friendship between two seafarers, because I identified with the craziness of the characters and their escapades.
Some end sadly, but not every story can end on a happy note, no ? That’s a mariner’s life – its allure lies in its unpredictability.
Among the other stories, I liked ‘Miss Me’ and ‘Sapphire Blue’, which are completely opposite in temperament. Whereas in the first one, we witness betrayal from a husband ,in the other we meet a devoted husband whose wife…. well, you have to read the story to find out!
If this collection doesn’t give you a glimpse of sea life, what it’s like to live and work at sea, then nothing will. A perfect collection of stories created from the imperfections in human nature.
I will leave you with a line from the anthology that is close to my heart – ‘He waited till the boy sailed across the dark oceans of sleep to dream of things that should never change’. (From the story ‘Transition.’)

I suggest you grab a copy and let the stories carry you with them. Bon voyage!

Sneha Prakash
Book Review by Sneha Prakash
Book : Driftwood
Author : Beetashok Chatterjee
Publisher : Readomania
Price : 271/-
Pages : 192
Rating : ☆☆☆☆4/5[penci_related_posts dis_pview=”no” dis_pdate=”no” title=”Related Posts” background=”” border=”” thumbright=”no” number=”4″ style=”grid” align=”none” withids=”” displayby=”cat” orderby=”rand”]

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