“This novel interweaves three stories set in the Asian theatre of WWII in the fertile crescent stretching from Singapore to Calcutta.
The first Chinese-Japanese-Eurasian tale is set in the famous Raffles Hotel in Singapore, now being rapidly transformed as ‘comfort women’ are brought in. Complications arise as the head of the Kempeitai takes a fancy to the Anglo-Indian cabaret artiste, who was once the object of the Hotel Manager’s affections, while a noble Japanese officer falls in love with one of the Chinese comfort women. Given the harsh realities of wartime Malaya, a series of tragedies ensues as the narrator, Ashoke, and his friends, Lim-Siew and Tim O’Brien-D’Souza are forced to look on in impotent, hapless horror.
A second, true story from the Quit India Movement serves as an Indian counterpoint to the events unfolding at Raffles. The third tale involves Subhash Bose and the Indian National Army or INA, narrated by two of the principal historical protagonists, Major Fujiwara and Captain Saraswati. As the INA soldiers go on trial at Delhi’s historic Red Fort, all of India rises in revolt.
By the end, the tales become meditations on war itself, ranging far beyond the confines of a hotel which had embodied ‘all the exotic tales of the East’ and a fabled palace complex, that once rivalled Versailles. Netaji and Fujiwara will have decisively advanced the eventual post-War liberation of all of colonial Asia, while Ashoke and Liem-Siew and Tim will be marked forever by the tragedies they witness of little people caught between malign, feuding colonial forces.”
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“Sudipto Roy Choudhury holds a BTech in engineering from IIT Kanpur and a PhD in mathematical physics from Cornell University, as well as a certificate on screen and novel writing from the Hollywood Screenwriters’ Guild.
His published literary work includes the novels The Whispered Raga (BecomeShakespeare, 2015) and I Shall Come Out as a Tremendous Comet (Rupa, 2009) and two volumes of translated short stories – The Arabian Nights of Kolkata and Other Stories (Calcutta Writers’ Workshop, 2002) and Prometheus Unbound: Short Stories of Samaresh Basu (Rupa, 2006). He also has 97 published research articles in top journals in mathematical physics and was founding Chair of the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics Activity Group on Nonlinear Waves and Coherent Structures. He teaches at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, USA and can be reached at email@example.com. He has also written miscellaneous columns on film in The Hindu (Madras) and The Statesman (Calcutta), and articles in World Literature Today, Asian Affairs et cetera. Among them was a monthly column on European art films that ran in The Statesman from 1992 to 1998.”
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