4 min read.Updated: 04 Jul 2015, 12:34 PM ISTSumana Roy
The fiery energy and theatre of death in an extraordinary novel set in Bengal of the 1980s
Death, we know from second-hand experience alone, comes without rehearsal. But not in Saikat Majumdar’s second novel, The Firebird. “Disaster came early in Ori’s life, at the age of five, the first time he saw his mother die." The novel opens with this line, and I had to read it a couple of times to check whether I had missed something, something that had happened in the tiny moments between my opening the book and arriving on its first talking page. It was the phrase “the first time" that was messing with my head—how does one die a second or third time? That line holds in it so much—Majumdar’s craft as a storyteller, and the central metaphor of his novel.