Book Title: A Home for Urvashi
Author: Sanchali Bhattacharya
Total Number of Pages: 352
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers India
Publication Date: 15 October 2017
Death separates Dulari from her beloved twin sister, Ujjwala. Forlorn, her spirit remains on Earth as a powerless but constant companion to Ujjwala. Like the apsara Urvashi, she has the power to travel between worlds but no family, no one to love. Dulari has a dream: she hopes to be reborn as Ujjwala’s daughter and find a home for herself. Twenty-nine years have gone by, but her dream remains unfulfilled. There is hope, though, for Ujjwala has a son and now longs for a daughter. Then arrives a man from Ujjwala’s past. His presence upsets her life and sets into motion a series of events that threaten to destroy her completely. Only Dulari can save her sister, but to do that, she must relinquish her dream. Sensitively written and evocative, A Home for Urvashi depicts the bond of sisterhood that goes beyond life and death.
REVIEW BY SOHINEE DEY
“A Home For Urvashi” tells the story of twin sisters, Dulari and Ujjwala. The author has tried to broach the topic of sisterhood by writing this book. The bond between sisters doesn’t really make an appearance in any books, but this book have cast a spotlight on sisterhood.
While Dulari is a forlorn spirit who exists on Earth but is powerless, Ujjwala lives in the human world and can execute her humanly powers. The two sisters are shown to be from two different worlds. Dulari loves her sister too much that she follows her around, keeps an eye on her so that she doesn’t fall prey to any dangerous situations. On the other hand, Ujjwala has no sense of Dulari’s existence because when Dulari died, both of them were new born babies. Both of them were found in a garbage dump, but Dulari couldn’t survive unfortunately.
Even though Dulari envies that her sister got a chance at life and she didn’t, she couldn’t stop herself from loving her. The author gives a subtle hint of Dulari’s envious feelings when she is shown to share the details of her death with Beral.
Dulari has a dream of her own, that is, to be born as a daughter to Ujjwala. But even after 29 years, her dream has remained unfulfilled. She wants a chance at life just like her sister. She wishes to enter into the human world and yearns to belong to someone and live a stable life but at the same time she wants to protect Ujjwala. Constantly torn between fullfilling her own dreams and keeping Ujjwala safe, making a decision on which is more important to her distresses her.
When a person from Ujjwala’s past makes an appearance in her life, it is upto Dulari to save her sister. Will she be able to save her?
The pace of the book is slow but not boring. It’s smooth and the flow is even, there are no sudden turn of events nor the plotline drags way too much. The narration makes me think of an object that is floating peacefully on water, making its way to its destination without any hurry.
The characters are beautifully portrayed. I loved how the author had built two different worlds for the characters yet on a level they are connected with one another. Living in Calcutta, the scenes which are described gave a sense of nostalgia. I could actually picture the streets, the battered slices of eggplant being fried, the hoichoi and the calmness that settles around the busy city once the lights are dimmed. I fell in love with the writing style.
MY FINAL VERDICT –
When you can actually visualise the scenes and you feel what the characters feel, know that it’s a book that you need to read. The plotline is absolutely original. The narration is savory. The length of the book though long, I didn’t find it to be boring but yes, it won’t be a good idea to complete it in one sitting. The emotions of the characters were well-balanced and has the power to evoke the same feelings in a reader. Everything about the story is well-developed.
I would recommend this book to everyone but if you are looking for a fast paced book which you can complete within hours, choosing to read this book might not be a good idea because this book needs to be enjoyed and not just “read”.
POESY IN CHRYSALIS RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Note: I received a review copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest review.