Book Review: Ex…A Twisted Love Story
A twisted love story…that’s how the writer Novoneel Chakraborty addresses his novel. Perhaps one could also call it a brain twister… the conflict of the past and the present rolled into one leaves us confused, bewildered and astounded. Neel is torn between loyalty to his live-in girlfriend Titiksha and Nivrita who claims to be his Ex. Is all this for real or is everything a figment of Neel’s fevered imagination? We have to race through the novel to know.
The novel begins with a prelude to the main action of the novel. A boy and a girl on the terrace of Sharada heights take a solemn pledge to be true to each other eternally and acknowledge undying love. The first chapter introduces us to Neel, an aspiring writer who wishes to carve a niche for himself in the literary world. He leaves his steady girlfriend Titiksha in Kolkata and sets off for the Jaipur Literary Festival. There, he chances to meet an attractive girl who, claims to be his ex. Neel is drawn to Nivrita and the mystery she appears to embody. When he comes back, he is puzzled at the change in Titiksha and his own growing attraction for Nivrita. Nivrita, on the otherhand relates a love story which she wishes Neel would write and she would help him publish it. The main plot of the novel is interspersed with a love story which adds up to strengthening of the plot. As the novel progresses some unforeseen and unreal events seem to happen almost sinister in their essence. The climax of the novel however brings us back to sanity and the novel ends as logically as one could expect.
Ex..a twisted love story slowly builds up… at first the steamy affair between Nivrita and Neel makes the reader wonder what all this is about? Is it one of those boy meets girl and rejects his steady girlfriend kind of story? Little does he know that very soon all his notions will go awry and things will go totally out of control! The structure of the novel is rather unusual… while Neel goes into raptures with his newly- found interest Nivrita, he starts thinking about the story he wishes to write. He goes into an unreal world where he sees Titiksha with another man and discovers that he is being drawn further and further into a dark abyss. Without revealing the suspense which keeps us on tenterhooks.. we can only say that the writer has succeeded in capturing the imagination of the reader till the very end.
Novoneel chakraborty has created a twilight world which hovers around the real and the unreal. With deft craftsmanship he has managed to hold the reader captive.. and that’s no mean achievement! At times the novel borders around psychoanalysis… examining the characters from a psychoanalytical perspective. As Freud would have it, repressed thoughts and fears in the unconscious mind emerge sometimes in dreams and language which may reproduce themselves in neurotic behavior. We find glimpses of such’ falsification of reality in Neel Chatterjee’s world or in the strange mannerisms of Nivrita and so on. We have to appreciate the mastery of prose and symbolism which he applies to create this sense of mystery and the unreal.
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