Review by Harsh
No of Pages: 254
Published by: Niyogi Books, New Delhi
A collection of lives is a befitting sub-title for the Sacred Sorrow of Sparrows, as each story deals with one slice of life, in the reading.
Siddharth Dasgupta springs surprises in relating his diverse compulsive stories, he must tell, with a flow- emphatic and passionate; to then break the storm to the lull of a mystic poetry read.
Through a journey from prose to poetry, Siddhartha surprises with his capacity to emote beyond his protagonists of different genders.
In the story Reversal and Its Residues he pens, “I look at her, and her eyes are moist with memories. She holds out her hand and draws me into her. We make love again, this time to a softer, slower cadence, guided by the truth into our stars, guided by Consuelo Velazquez’s words that linger in the air like crushed butterflies…
Besame, besame mucho
como si fuera esta noche
La ultima vez
Besame, besame mucho
Que tengo miedo a perderte
His eye for detail strikes the reader in all his stories which have an added travel value to the stories. Dasgupta displays a brilliant shift of time and space; through dialogues and through memories that he patiently lists into his stories from time to time. There is a streak of intellectual experience from the versions narrated by his characters, so the reader is able to evolve with them.
In Dawn’s Fatal Betrayal, Dasgupta brilliantly sketches, “Listening to the soft murmur of prayers from within the room, Fardeen was reminded of muezzins and their calls to prayer during Eid, from both the previous year as well as earlier that same year. Their neighbourhood of Nakhas was filled with mosques, and the near simultaneous calls to prayer were like pebbles being thrown into a river, each small ripple leading to another, and then another, so much so that within a few moments, this this silently rising, majestically unfurling cascade of prayers felt like a singular, powerful wave of devotion, sweeping across their city…and their home within it.”
The ease with which the setting of his stories move from real spaces to imaginary spaces, and from one country to another not to forget the the people and their culture as a travel stint is an intriguing experience for the reader. The inaugural story, The Baker from Kabul, the reader finds himself in the Aghani capital, experiencing the life of a baker and of those interacting with him. The story flowing mellifluously. While One Deep Sleep is not only a saga of the life of Michiko but also Tokyo. There is something to exalt in living these ten lives, each doubled with the heartbeat of the city pumping simultaneously. Music, prose and poetry also lubricate the complexity of the characters.
The Sacred Sorrows of Sparrows is engaging and transportive. With each story there is something to gauge within oneself and engage with because the collection of stories is a deft weave of human emotions, unfulfilled expectations, the lights and shades of relationships and a mystical experience that provides fodder to beautiful and intricate thoughts in the mind.
Harsh is an undergraduate currently studying Social Sciences and Humanities at Ambedkar University Delhi.