A Death in Shonagachhi: A Novel

Rijula Das

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28 July 2021
9789389109887
312 pages
Synopsis

A deeply sensitive portrait of life (and death) in a red-light district’ – Tanuj Solanki

‘Addictive and hilarious’ – Avni Doshi

'Takes us deep into the hidden and harsh universes of the layered city of Calcutta’ – Sarnath Banerjee

‘Rijula Das surprises you with everything in this book – the writing, the scenes, the characters, the story’ – Arunava Sinha

In the red-light district of Shonagachhi, Lalee dreams of trading a life of penury and violence for one of relative luxury as a better-paid ‘escort’, just as her long-standing client, erotic novelist Trilokeshwar ‘Tilu’ Shau, realizes he is hopelessly in love with her.

When a young woman who lives next door to Lalee is brutally murdered, a spiral of deceit and crime further disturbs the fragile stability of their existence. Despite misgivings, Lalee lets new opportunities promising wealth and respite lure her away from the familiar confines of her neighbourhood. But beneath the facade of the plush hotels lies an underbelly of unimaginable secrets that will endanger her life and that of numerous women like her. As the local Sex Workers’ Collective’s protests against government and police inaction and their calls for justice for the deceased woman gain fervour, Lalee and Tilu must each embark on a life-altering misadventure in order to escape a similarly savage fate.

Chekhovian in spirit and reminiscent of the works of Nabarun Bhattacharya, it introduces us to an astonishing new writer.