Book Review: The House of Twining Roses by Nabina Das

The House of Twining Roses – Stories of the Mapped and Unmapped by Nabina Das is a book of prose published by Lifi Publications, New Delhi. Das is a writer and poet from North East India who has had several collections of poetry as well a novel, Footprints in the Bajra. This particular book had quite a few stories that touched a chord in my heart.

Perhaps, it was because some of them were based on characters or places or even events that I relate to. But more than that, I got lost in the stories because they beckoned me the way stories are supposed to. I was generally impressed with the plot of the stories as well as the lyrical depth in the way she writes. It wasn’t all monotonous. In fact, I was always pleasantly surprised by the dialogues as well as the observations.

Her background in poetry is without a doubt reflected in the way she writes her stories. Her characters are remarkable and yet ordinary at the same time, while her stories are so believable that they could actually be real. Well at least, real in her mind and yours as you enter her world. All her stories beat the same way the heart of India does. Whether she is writing of an Indian in a foreign land or a man in the northern Plains or a little girl in Assam, she is able to capture their heart, emotion and passion all the same.

On the front cover of the book is a quote from Arunava Sinha that says, “The people in the stories will take over your waking hours.” I could not have articulated it better. While the book as whole did not take over my waking hours the way other books have, it was certain characters that kept springing up in my mind and my imagination throughout the few days after reading a story. In fact, there was one particular character named Atif that even made it into an actual dream of mine!

There are some prose collections such as Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri that are so gripping you will want to devour every story at once. ‘The House of Twinning Roses’ is not like one of those. It’s the kind of book that you can enjoy slowly and leisurely. There is no desperation to finish it all at once. Like a glass of wine you drink a sip at a time, so you can read it a story at a time.

• Paperback: 282 pages
• Publisher: LiFi Publications Private Limited (2014)
• Language: English
• Price: Rs 250
• Rating: 8/10

Disclaimer: All opinions given above are of the author alone. The rating is a personal rating given to help readers and followers of the blog gage what the author feels about the book.


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