Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Her Resurrection - Book Review

Her Resurrection
By Soumyadeep Koley
Review By Ila Garg

Her Resurrection, a novel by Soumyadeep Koley, is published by Gargi Publishers. The cover is an absolute delight, however, if you go deeper into the layers – the meaning that it brings out is profound. The eyes that compel you to look into them twice are full of pain and anguish, but is there something more to those eyes? We will find out only when we read this book that is based on sex trafficking.

Soumyadeep Koley is a writer, poet, women’s rights activist and photographer. After graduating with Honours degree in Chemistry from Scottish Church College, Kolkata, he joined the global fight against violence on women. He has worked with Jason Jayology Jeremias, the Founder and Artistic director of Price of Silence, New York, which employs performing arts to bring the global struggle for women’s psychological counselling of domestic violence and rape survivors from India and abroad, through unique mystical and metaphysical techniques. You can join his Facebook page at:

The blurb reads as, “So begins Maya’s Story in the picturesque countryside of Maharashtra, where she grows up amidst cruelty and domestic violence, being an unwanted girl-child. Yet, like a lonesome beacon beset by sinister wilderness, she pursues her dreams of reaching the stars with her tiny wings. One night, a twist of fate triggers a series of incidents, when she loses everything she had – even her virginity.
Severely traumatized after her father’s death, her mother’s imprisonment, and her own gang-rape, Maya finds herself all alone in the streets of Mumbai, with wolves lurking around for raw flesh. She is weary, but not wary. She has no sense of the fate that awaits her. What follows, would change her life forever, as also yours, as her heart wrenching, yet inspiring story echoes through time.
‘Her Resurrection’ bravely paints an appalling picture of the society. Heart-breaking, hopeful and immensely healing at the same time, this emotional rollercoaster through dreams, tragedy and triumph is a moving tribute to womankind. Are you ready to embark on a transformational journey with Maya?”

I have been associated with Gargi Publishers since it actually came into being. I have seen it going through the many different phases and therefore, a book from Gargi is always a delight. I was looking forward to read this one for a very long time. However, I never got a chance to read it until a week back. I was excited to have it with me and very eager to read too. Social issues have been my interest area – the reason why I along with Gargi Publishers decided to announce our anthology titled Crumpled Voices. It’s been doing great and this shows we have readers and writers, of course, out there who are interested in this subject. If you are one of them, pick up this book called Her Resurrection and you won’t be disappointed.

Rapes, sexual harassment, corruption, flaws in education system resulting in suicides, problems with political and sports system, peer pressure, drugs/alcohol problems, unemployment, modern relationship problems that often lead to domestic violence later on, dowry deaths, discrimination on account of religion/gender/colour/caste, girl child issues, increasing number of old age homes and orphanages, instances of terrorism, child trafficking, etc. – Indian society has a lot of social issues to deal with these days, and that is not a thing to be proud of! This book is an attempt to bring light on a subject that is kept under wraps and yet instances related to it keeps increasing by manifolds. So what does 'resurrection' mean to you?

Dictionary meaning of resurrection is an act of revival of the dead. Putting it into the context – in Indian society, we live in duality where on one hand we worship idols of goddesses like Maa Ambe, Saraswati & Durga and on the other hand, we often exert power on women, India being a patriarchal society. We treat them so bad that sometimes, they are pushed to the edge, almost on the verge of dying. Her Resurrection is an attempt to bring this malpractice to the fore. It exposes the dark side of the society we live in.

The story line deals with Maya and how she comes out as victorious from the emotional turmoil that she is tied into. The author has done a great job in describing Maya’s suffering and pain. Maya’s hardships will shake the human in you for sure – the character is sketched so well. The reality of the situation is hard to be ignored. In our own homes, prostitution is seen as a taboo and a topic to be shhh’ed about. But should it be done when we ourselves are indulging in outrageous activities like sex trafficking? Yes, I agree, you might not be overtly a part of it but if we all unite against this, it will have to die out! But alas! we fail to do so!

The command over the language and portrayal of the incidents is Soumyadeep’s USP. The characters of Maya, Audra, Praveen, Siddharth and Sadia have been skilfully introduced. As a debutant, Soumyadeep took a gigantic amount of risk by selecting this genre where I’m sure, he might have faced many hurdles while researching and scribbling down the story. Also, being a male, it gets tough to pen down a story from a female’s point of view and vice versa. But the author has done a commendable job with Her Resurrection. The unpredictability of the story kept me hooked till the end.

How Maya is pushed into the filth of prostitution in as early as her teenage, how a girl has to face discrimination when she yearns to grow and live as a free bird, how she has to compromise when she has desires are brutally curbed are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in Her Resurrection.

Many girls are still tied in the shackles and living Maya’s story too. Maya did leave the haunting memories of her past behind, but will every girl exposed to this filth be able to do so?

Further, this book is good enough to expose the double standards of society we live in. It’s a compelling book that will force you to act and finally leave your comfort zone behind.

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Amazon | Flipkart | Shimply

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