Book Review – Pentacles-TheliteraturetodayFebruary 5, 2020
After the magnificent drama,”Abyss”, Sabarna Roy has tried his hand jointly in prose and poetry together in his work, “Pentacles: one short story and four long story poems in verse”. A speciality about his work is his willingness to experiment with different genres in literary writings and being surprisingly dextrous in each of them.
While in Abyss he had explored and developed very strong and human characters and explored the themes of love, education, relationships, betrayal etc, in his short story, “New Life”, he builds up and develops one central unnamed character while others contribute to his development. Even though it is a short story, the author has cleverly managed to capture a good number of years from his childhood to adulthood. The central idea is about the impacts of a mother on the making or damaging of a child’s psychology. Through the narrator the author has raised the issue of broken families and how the children of those families are affected. In the light of this, the author also talks about the importance of compatibility among couples. He highlights how important it is for the presence of compatibility for making marriages work. Not just through the author’s parents but also through the woman he dates, the same theme is focused on in order to point out the fact that this problem is pervasive to any generation.
Even though the story is crisp and focused, at times the narrator is lost in his own thoughts about things happening in his life. That is kind of hint towards how lonely he has been. So much so that he prefers solitude even in places meant for socializing. Also, the author plays well with the imagination of the readers at the end of the story. The end is not expected to be that way but it leaves the reader wondering what could actually be. Since the subjects of the story are quite serious and thought-provoking, the story is suggested to be read by the adult age group. There are instances which may offend feminists so reading the story needs to be with an open perspective.
The poet has written four poems in continuation of the story which are, “The tower”, “Chasing”, “2001-2002” and “Tara”. Every poem has its own specialty. Since they all are in free verse, they remind the reader of Walt Whitman at certain points. “The Tower” is an introduction to the poetic insights and potential of Roy as a poet. If he is capable to writing 6 different stanzas revolving around a thing as simple as a tower, he can write about anything perhaps. He thinks of non-living thing like a tower to be a living person which has dreams of its own, witness to the changing times, how man has moulded things according to his needs mentioning about farmlands to the mall culture. His ideas and style strongly make the reader reminisce William Wordsworth. Even though the later wrote on nature, the former still has strong resemblances due to his power of imagination and ability to think in such an abstract manner.
His next poem, “Chasing” is more about the practical experiences he has had in his lifetime and how they have been instrumental in creating a monumental impact on his life and personality. The poet has widely read canonical writers and their classical works and the influence is strongly reflected throughout his writing.
“2001-2002”, his next poem is a nostalgic account of the poet’s life during those years. The poet takes the reader on his imaginative rollercoaster once again and shows the sights of the events in those years. He tries to recall as much as he can and records all his memories.
An interesting thing about all the poems is that they’re written in first person narrative which is not so common in poetry writing. This style differentiates Roy from others and perhaps it comes out more like his signature style. The poems are in simple language but the content and subjects they explore are very uncommon and out of the box kind of ideas. This will ensure that Roy’s work successfully stands the test of time and also keeping it in the category of works to be read by future generations.