Spotlight at ‘Grab The Book’ blog: Thwarted Escape

Spotlight: Thwarted Escape by Lopamudra Banerjee

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How far can one truly go away from his/her ancestral roots, filial ties and the claustrophobic grip of traditions and the reminiscence of an emotionally fraught childhood and puberty? The book begins with this particular quest, and it is this quest which gains momentum as a woman seeks the essence of herself-identity ten thousand miles away from her Bengali hometown. With the lens of a time-traveler, her narrative journey encompasses her first sexual abuse, her first tryst with death, austerity, the strangeness of rituals, the inexplicable feelings of puberty and also her surrendering to love, procreation, motherhood. In herself-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots a real soothe well spring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.
To know more about the book, visit the link:

Knitted Tales: by Rubina Ramesh

 

KNITTED TALES:

A Collection of Emotions

by

 

 

 

Blurb

What forces an innocent girl to become a sex symbol? Her desires? Or cruel fate? 

 

Is a lifetime enough—for avenging a betrayal? How do you hide secrets that never stopped haunting you? 

 

Can vengeance and secrets of your past devastate your present? How can long-buried crimes of yours suddenly raise their head? Can sinning be saving?

 

Is your spouse your soulmate? What if they never understood your feelings? Can you still live with them?

 

Lastly, does life give only two options? Live or die? What if there is a third?

 

In her debut anthology, Rubina Ramesh tries to find answers to these questions that are often from the heart and yet makes the mind ponder over the solution. Or is it the other way round? Either way, Knitted Tales is a bouquet of emotions that is bound to touch both your head and your heart.

About the author

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time.  She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona.  Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer. 

Her other published works include:

 

‘Home is where Love is’ a short story in the anthology Writings from the Heart. Ed. by Beth Ann Masarik. 

‘You Stole My Heart’ and ‘Let me Go’. Short stories as a part of the anthology Long and Short of It by Indireads.

‘Wake Me Up’ as a part of the anthology Marijuana Diaries by Fablery Publishers.

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A stirring and powerful narrative of love and loss: Book Review of’Thwarted Escape’

 

“Depending on which chapter you’re reading, you could say Banerjee is a memoirist, a creative writer, an essayist or a journalist. But no matter what label you choose for her writing, you will see Banerjee has major writing talent – the culmination of a passion that was borne at an early age when she considered words her playmates.

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“I have been in love with these moments of restlessness and release as these clusters have formed a pattern called words. I watched this written world of prose and verse, as with my hands, my body, I absorbed these nuances of creation,” she writes.

Through the pages, Banerjee transitions from a small town girl in India who makes her way to the United States. She has traveled to many places throughout the US and in one chapter where she derives the book’s title, “Thwarted Escape,” she talks about her departure to Omaha, Nebraska, as in this stirring passage: “I am an ordinary, commonplace refugee in North America, and like many others of my ilk, have embedded myself in a family, far flung from what is called ‘original home.’ Like many others, I am striving to gain the status of the coveted Non-resident Indian, a legitimate work permit to survive in a distant land while my heart continues to ache with the desire to be rocked in the bosom of my mother and to revisit the havens of my childhood.”

With the power of narrative in her life, Banerjee lives with the secret ambition to “get published” and to let the world read her stories. Thankfully, she has fulfilled her dream of compiling such a book and sharing with us her engaging and well-written stories of grief, death in her family, motherhood, and femininity.”

By J O’Reilly

Sharing an endorsement for my book ‘THWARTED ESCAPE: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey” from J O Reilley, an award-winning journalist from the Chanticleer Reviews and Media team, which she also shares in Goodreads and Amazon:

 

http://www.chantireviews.com/2016/12/01/thwarted-escape-an-immigrants-wayward-journey-by-lopamudra-banerjee-a-stirring-narrative/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33021719-thwarted-escape

https://www.amazon.com/review/R3O53I941IYM25/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=9352074254

 

 

Book excerpt: ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’

An excerpt from the opening chapter of my recently released memoir/autobiographical novel THWARTED ESCAPE: AN IMMIGRANT’S WAYWARD Journey in my own voice.

Publication details:

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Authorspress (2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9352074254
  • ISBN-13: 978-9352074259

Available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481749124&sr=8-1&keywords=thwarted+escape

http://www.amazon.in/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479401004&sr=8-1&keywords=Thwarted+Escape

Flipkart link (for India only):

https://www.flipkart.com/thwarted-escape-immigrants-wayward-journey/p/itmenxzywcgtt549?pid=9789352074259&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&lid=LSTBOK9789352074259QJJJJT&qH=fd2a924a13abed98

The River Dark, The River Deep

The rivulet, the gushing stream bounced and swayed

Like a colicky infant. pic of housewife

Didn’t I love you, sleeping in your banks, pure?

Hiding myself so deftly in your little pockets of silence?

Why then, today, when I ran to touch you, hot, raw, burning,

You ran away instead, fearing my coagulated blood,

my frozen tears, my milk stuck on your door-frame, my breath,

shot up, in spurts, that has known you like the grandma’s old tale,

Like the lone, dazzling truth?

 

Come, enter through my rich brown, derelict doors,

Still open for you. Settle slowly amid the thickets,

Soaking in the smudged, docile light setting in,

The skyline of my wants still eager, firm with primroses,

Brown, yet not dying still, with music, sharp, yet blurry,

The details obscured, yet the pleading, the little lightning

Robust, plump, hammering.

 

Will you burn it, like the rest of my thwarted dreams galore,

The pregnant ashes of my sighs

that once I had closed your palms with?

Like the stubborn, wailing infant, eyes rolling, fingers tossed,

You had wanted small tufts of the dried, golden grass

Growing mammoth, fleshy, in a mountainous pile.

Today, between my calloused palms, the ashes dwindle,

And let out an air, musky, choking, yet again.

 

The verdant spring, the primroses, the half-baked love songs

Burn me like the old, bloody embers, the fungi strong, shadowy

Smeared all over like a beauty in continuum.

Come over, do not run, what is there to hide?

Lie down, flat, on my back, as I float on your scalding waters,

Doused with the dark grey of our self-same songs.

Interviewing Deepti Menon: Author of Shadow in the Mirror

Deepti Menon is the author of two books, Arms and the Woman and Deeparadhana. She has worked as a journalist with several publications and is now a freelance editor. Short stories with deft twists and tongue-in-cheek articles that tickle the funny bone are her forte. Deepti lives with her family in Chennai. In this heart-to-heart interview, she talks about her recently released novel, a gripping psychological thriller Shadow in the Mirror, published by Readomania.

 

shadowinthemirror

cover of Shadow in the Mirror

Me: Deepti, a very intriguing book it seems from the cover. What would you say is the significance of the title of your book, ‘Shadow in the Mirror’?
DM: Thank you, Lopa! My book, Shadow in the Mirror, talks about the chasm between real life and fantasy. The mirror always tells you the truth, never the fiction, and hence, it can either be your truest friend or your greatest enemy.
Me: Would you say the woman protagonist of the novel is rather vulnerable, a victim of her destiny or does she try to fight back against her trauma/obstacles?
DM: I have a number of women protagonists in my novel. Each one lives her own life, as do we all, facing obstacles and rising above them. My main protagonist is very much a victim of her destiny, and trapped in a web. The others strive to rise above and fight back, and actually succeed in their attempts.
Me: From the blurb, it seems there are some interconnected stories of women tied to the main story of the protagonist Nita. Does that make the novel more heavy and complex or do all these strands of the narrative work together to bring out some elemental truth of human nature?
DM: I have striven not to make my novel heavy through my style of writing, and through the genre that I have chosen. I believe that all the strands of the narrative have been woven together to create a complex tapestry that is thrilling, and yet, an easy read.
Me: Since this novel falls into the category of mystery/thriller, who would you say has been your inspiration in writing a thriller? Is it more influenced by Agatha Christie’s style of writing or more contemporary in its feel and tone?
DM: Agatha Christie has been a great influence in my growing years, and the one lesson that I have imbibed from her books is to keep my narrative and dialogues light enough to sustain the interest of the readers. This does not take away from the gravity of the theme, in any way. The book is a blend of the traditional and the modern, both in its feeling and tone. deepti_author
Me: I have read in one of your interviews that this book took 12 years in its making. How have these 12 years prepared you to eventually publish this thriller novel? Has it been a slow, organic journey or a roller-coaster ride for you? What have been the epiphanies for you?
DM: This book did take twelve years in the making. Over the years, even as I rewrote and honed my manuscript, I was doing many other creative things as well. So you could call it a slow, organic journey, in a way.
The rollercoaster began once Readomania accepted the book for publication, and the actual work of publication began. Epiphanies were aplenty… the first time I visualized my book in its complete avatar, that moment when Dipankar Mukherjee accepted my manuscript, and finally, when I realized that all the changes that I had made with the help of my editor, Vaijyanti Ghosh, had helped to streamline and embellish the story that I had always wanted to write.
Thank you so much for your wonderful questions, Lopa. I enjoyed answering them.
Me: You are most welcome, Deepti! Wish you all success with this book and all your future projects.

Guest Post: In Conversation with Sundari Venkatraman

About the author: Sundari Venkatraman

 

His Drunken Wife is the ninth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #2 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India; Book #1 being The Smitten Husband. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories. hdw_sundari

As a guest post for my blog, I had a question for Sundari regarding her recently released novel ‘His Drunken Wife’.

 

Hello Sundari, keeping in mind this is yet another novel of your romance series, what would you say would be the USP of this book? The characterisation or the theme of the badass woman’s journey into her conjugal life?

Hi Lopa,

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. #HisDrunkenWife is the second in the #MarriagesMadeinIndia series and is the story of Abhimanyu and Shikha.

Let me try to answer your question without giving away too much of my story. The USP is the hot and steamy romance between the protagonists. In fact, it’s the USP of the whole series is what I would say. And I find that these books are selling the best of my whole lot of twelve titles.

It is only after that would I give credit to the characterisation as well as the theme. Shikha is badass – a deviation from my other heroines. While I like to give my characters a few grey shades to make them human, Shikha is more grey than white. This makes her very different from my other protagonists.

And then there’s Abhimanyu’s unconditional love for Shikha. Isn’t it every human being’s dream to be loved for exactly what they are? For a partner who would love them despite themselves? Well, this is what Abhimanyu is to Shikha.

So, the book has three points to recommend it, not just one.

The Amazon link to ‘His Drunken Wife’:

https://www.amazon.com/Drunken-Wife-Marriages-Made-India-ebook/dp/B01KCXSMMM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481053267&sr=8-1&keywords=His+Drunken+Wife

https://www.amazon.in/Drunken-Wife-Marriages-Made-India-ebook/dp/B01KCXSMMM?_encoding=UTF8&keywords=His%20Drunken%20Wife&qid=1481053297&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Check out the Author Spotlight on Sundari V. in my blog:

https://mistressandhermuse.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/his-drunken-wife-novel-by-sundari-venkatraman/

 

 

His Drunken Wife: Novel by Sundari Venkatraman

HIS DRUNKEN WIFE

(Marriages Made in India Book #2)

by

Sundari Venkatraman

 

Blurb

 

The badass Shikha is startled when the nerdy Abhimanyu proposes marriage. She loves… herself, and Abhimanyu doesn’t figure on her list anywhere. For Abhimanyu, however, it was love at first sight when Shikha walked into RS Software, where the two of them work. 

 

When Abhimanyu shows her that he just might be rich enough for her, a pleasantly surprised Shikha accepts his marriage proposal and moves into his swanky apartment. 

 

But it looks like the love is all from only Abhi’s side as Shikha continues to drink herself crazy. Yeah, even at their wedding party. 

 

And then Abhi sets out on a honeymoon to Thailand with His Drunken Wife… 

 

*MARRIAGES MADE IN INDIA is a five-novella series that revolves around the characters you have met in The Runaway Bridegroom.

 

Read an excerpt from #HDW

 

It was at least another half an hour before Shikha returned to the party. She directly walked up to her husband and kissed him on his masculine lips. “Forgive me?” 

 

Abhi pulled her close, kissing her deeply. “Always.”

 

“Did I tell you that you’re the best thing that’s happened to me?” she whispered in his ear, nipping at his earlobe. 

 

“Shikha,” growled Abhi, “Are you even aware of what you’re doing to me? Position yourself in front of me till I gain control or I won’t be responsible for the consequences.”

 

Shikha gave a tinkling laugh, her hand on his fly, tracing his shape delightedly. “How did I ever imagine you were a staid guy?”

 

Abhi groaned. “Take your hand off, woman. Please!”

 

Shikha laughed again, kissing him. “How I love to hear you beg.” She winked at him. 

 

She turned right around and got a waiter to get her another drink, much to Abhi’s chagrin. “Will you lay off the drink, Shikha?” he frowned. 

 

“Why? You can’t afford it or what?” she challenged him, a shapely eyebrow up in query, sherry brown eyes dancing. 

 

“You’ve already had four large pegs.”

 

“You’ve been counting.” The smile left her face.

 

“Do you plan to get drunk?”

 

“Arre yaar, Abhi! It’s our wedding, a once-in-a-lifetime event. I’m only celebrating. Give me a break,” she protested. 

“The way you’ve been knocking down the drinks, anyone would think that you’re in pain rather than celebrating.”

 

About the author

Sundari Venkatraman

 

His Drunken Wife is the ninth book authored by Sundari Venkatraman. This is a hot romance and is Book #2 of the 5-novella series titled Marriages Made in India; Book #1 being The Smitten Husband. Other published novels by the author are The Malhotra Bride, Meghna, The Runaway Bridegroom, The Madras Affair and An Autograph for Anjali—all romances. She also has a collection of romantic short stories called Matches Made in Heaven; and a collection of human interest stories called Tales of Sunshine. All of Sundari Venkatraman’s books are on Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers in India, USA, UK, Canada & Australia under both #romance & #drama categories.


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My New Baby, ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’

Hello friends, you might be wondering about my long (yes, somewhat) absence from this blog. Let me apologize for being away from you for these few months and make a happy announcement! My new baby, ‘Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey’, partly autobiographical novel, partly memoir, has recently been published by Authorspress India and launched with my literary friends in Delhi, the capital of India and in Kolkata, the cultural epicenter of India. A personal journey of seeking the essence and meaning of HOME, the book is characterized by my quest for my self-identity as a woman, a mother and a daughter, while being ten thousand miles away from my Bengali hometown.

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The book cover of ‘Thwarted Escape’

The book, which had first started taking shape as a diary entry addressed to my unborn daughter during the third trimester of my first pregnancy, later gained momentum as an autobiographical narrative journey of a wistful immigrant woman as I gradually found my moorings in Omaha, Nebraska, a Midwestern city in the United States. The seed of this book was first sown in a Graduate writing program in a university based in the city where two of my creative nonfiction mentors Dr. Lisa Knopp and Dr. John T. Price egged me on to explore this beautiful, volatile, passionate journey.

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Thwarted Escape Quotes

In essence, it is a subtle, complex and organic journey of my transformation from a small town girl in India to a woman who reconnects with her ancestral home, her emotionally fraught childhood and puberty. In her emotional, spiritual journey, she looks back, releasing her pent up thunder as she recounts her first tryst with death of a loved one, her first encounter with sexual abuse during a Diwali night, her first brush with her ancestral Hindu rituals, with love, procreation and motherhood.

With the lens of a time-traveler, she also looks back at the aromas and fragrances of her native Kolkata with wistfulness and nostalgia while trying to find her feet and strike roots in her adopted home. Moreover, she also tries to deconstruct the meaning and essence of Home, of Diaspora, of migration, realizing in the end that her physical attempt to break free of her ancestral roots and filial ties in an adopted home is, after all, thwarted.

In this roller-coaster emotional journey, mostly written in poetic prose, I attempt to uncover the slices of my soul while looking back at my roots in Kolkata and Barrackpore, my ancestral home, and my cultural traditions.  I attempt to unravel the inner core of my identity and my epiphanies derived as a daughter, a woman and a mother.  In the latter half of the book, there are travel memoirs in different parts of US and India, including Niagara falls, Seattle, Minnesota, Puri, Bhuvaneshwar and Konark, Orissa where my inward and outward journey forms an integral part of my self-analysis.

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The book launch in Delhi with eminent authors, poets and the publisher of Authorspress

In this seamless journey, I also look at the ever-flowing cascade of life from the vantage point of death and despair, ultimately surrendering to the oscillation between the binary feelings of alienation and attachment between two different worlds of my existence.

The title ‘Thwarted Escape’ touches upon the metaphor of home and the act of sub-consciously embracing the physical and emotional landscape of our birthplace, however much we evade it. Quite early on, the protagonist of the book discovers the feminist literary worlds of Taslima Nasrin, Virginia Woolf, and later, Sylvia Plath, and a rebellious streak inside her persona compels her to delve into the roots of her ancestral Hindu traditions, question them, at times, even break free of them. However, in her self-chosen exile in the US, she discovers that deep within; her ancestral roots are also the wellspring of her psychological, spiritual existence. In the process, she keeps on oscillating between assimilating and disintegrating, which forms the core of her journey.

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The Kolkata book launch of Thwarted Escape,with eminent poet and academician Sharmila Ray, Art Rickshaw, Hindustan Park, Kolkata.

The book is available in Amazon worldwide now, and in Flipkart, an online e-retailing store in India.

Amazon links:

https://www.amazon.com/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480621429&sr=8-1&keywords=Thwarted+Escape

http://www.amazon.in/Thwarted-Escape-Immigrants-Wayward-Journey/dp/9352074254/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478420969&sr=8-1&keywords=Thwarted+Escape+Lopamudra+Banerjee

Flipkart link(for readers in India):

https://www.flipkart.com/thwarted-escape-immigrants-wayward-journey/p/itmenxzywcgtt549?pid=9789352074259&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&lid=LSTBOK9789352074259QJJJJT&qH=485274c1f834c173

Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33021719-thwarted-escape

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thwartedescapethebook/?fref=ts