Nominated | Book Awards 2019 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
The book zooms in on one-of-the-all too many poignant mini-dramas that are played out in the conflict zones of North-East India, where no one ‘wins’. Senior Police Inspector Lahiri, with his pastiche dispassion and pretend cynicism, the dreaded United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) insurgent Hiren Bora, and his 12-year-old brother Okon—each of them is a victim of circumstances not quite of their own making, portrayed with startling realism.
The novel probes the psyche of a morally righteous village youth with strong ideals and big dreams, compassionately delineates his transformation into a militant, and explores into the complexity of the relationship that exists between him and his adolescent younger brother—all the while positioning them within their immediate cultural and physical landscapes. The tale unfolds at a lethargic pace, though occasionally punctuated with short yet furious bursts of violent action, leading inexorably to a dramatic climax. In the process, the reader is subjected to an overwhelming gamut of experiences and emotions, often brutal and inevitably tragic.
Arup Kumar Dutta is an Indian author and freelance journalist. He writes short-fiction, long-fiction, non-fiction, newspaper editorials, articles and columns, satirical pieces et al. Among the awards he has been bestowed with are Shankar’s Award, Journalist Welfare Foundation Award, Kamal Kumari National Award and The Life Time Achievement Honor Award by AWIC, the Indian Chapter of International Board for Books for Young People. Between 2004-2008, the Government of India appointed him Director, Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Cultural Centre, Jakarta, and Indian Cultural Centre, Bali, with the rank of a Counselor in the Indian Embassy, Jakarta, Indonesia. In 2018, the University of Dibrugarh conferred D. Litt (honoris causa) on him while the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri.