30 July, 2021

Park Mansions

A nicely crafted work suffused with nostalgia and served on a thick white Oly Pub plate

Park Mansions
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Bunny Suraiya’s Calcutta Exile is a nicely crafted work suffused with nostalgia and served on a thick white Oly Pub plate. Tracing the lives of one Anglo-Indian family in Calcutta of the 1950s, the Ryans, it paints a closely observed picture of a fast-vanishing culture. This is a book without whiz-bangs: the action proceeds smoothly, and the emotional screws are not turned beyond endurance. You will not find deep philosophical reflection or earth-shaking insights in it, but it is the perfect companion of a lazy afternoon: well-mannered, courteous and good-humoured.

Old Calcutta hands will derive pleasure from the loving portraits of Calcutta institutions such as the Dalhousie Institute, the Calcutta Club, Firpo’s and a thinly-veiled Trinca’s. This is Suraiya’s first novel, but her long writing career in journalism and advertising shows in her fine sense of rhythm and her clean, uncluttered prose. If the book has a fault, it is perhaps the overly slow pace and the long chunks of back story dotted here and there,...

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