In a humble display of mastery of knowledge over manifold issues of the human psyche influencing a person’s actions, the post-modern writer Sabarna Roy garlands an exquisitely sensitive narrative and a poem-cycle in a lucid and sharp manner, without any aplomb, in his latest book Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020.
The book deserves to occupy a major position in the domain of international English literature as it deals with the phenomenon of duality and the contradictions between the poet and his alter-ego.
Sabarna Roy is particularly known for digging out the mental maladies of post-modern times through his critically acclaimed works such as Pentacles, Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems and Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts.
Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 is a very valuable addition to English literature as it dispels many misconceptions about certain literary and political characters and ideas continuing over the decades.
This book promulgates interesting theories about the behaviors of Anna Karenina of Leo Tolstoy, Humbert Humbert of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita or Nikhilesh of Rabindranath Tagore’s Ghare Baire (Inside, Outside).
Braving international criticism, Sabarna Roy also does not fight shy of critically examining Marxian thought and practice.
The book also examines duality of love, schizophrenia and marine conservation in a colloquial manner, so to say.
Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 also deals with emotions and love and their duality of a step-father towards his step-daughter narrated through two different characters: Babazula and Tulip.
This appears vividly in two different chapters of the book: “Letter to a Step-daughter” and “Nocturnal Conversation between a Step-father and Step-daughter over desserts and coffee”.
At a juncture when childless Indian couples are moving towards adoption babies, this book of Sabarna Roy should really be a must-read for them. This is due to the fact that Babazula acts and advices Tulip in no less sensitive a manner than a real biological father would do to his step-daughter.
Humane touch of a human being is portrayed very nicely in this book through locomotion of ideas to and fro.
A Letter to Suranjana, another very interesting chapter in the book, makes a refreshing attempt to excavate the split mind of Humbert in the narrative of Lolita.
The concluding chapter Winter Poems 2020, is an anthology of twenty brilliant and dark poems creating delusional and yet, stark images of the post-modern world reminding one of T S Eliot [whose secret love story is discussed elsewhere in the book] and Osip Mandelstam [a very favorite poet of the author].