As one of the most revered seats of learning for Buddhist scholars, Nalanda continues to evoke a sense of enigma and reverence. It is based on this premise that author Manna Bahadur presents her second novel, The Curse of Nalanda.
The narrative, a juxtaposition of past and present, is based around the historic Nalanda University and its subsequent ransacking and destruction. Intersected with this narrative is the story of two girls – Devahuti and Chandni – belonging to two completely different eras and yet connected deeply because of their experiences, betrayals, loyalties, and natures.
The author shuttles between two timelines. In one, the bold and spritely child-widow Devahuti contends with the acts of a rampaging Bakhtiyar Khilji. In the other, TV journalist Chandni finds herself embroiled in mysteries beyond breaking news. Maintaining the pace of narration, The Curse of Nalanda leads the reader to find answers as to how Devahuti and Chandni are intertwined and the book – that is at once imagined history and contemporary reportage – turns out to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller. The intrigue and drama in the narrative make ‘The Curse of Nalanda’ a riveting read.
The lucid writing is a key feature of the book – Manna Bahadur writes in a language that we all speak in – and therefore the book is an easy read. Despite that, relevant details that explain characters and their situations and circumstances are conveyed easily. For lovers of historical fiction, the book is rather engaging.
About the author:
Manna Bahadur is a writer, poet, scriptwriter and painter. Besides being the sole woman from Bihar in the world of Indian English literature, she was the first woman anchor from the state to be seen on TV. The former TV presenter, who had written and compeered various Doordarshan programs from 1978 to 1990, including the famous Saptahiki, has also written serial & documentary scripts, and conceptualized many programs for Doordarshan. She has written several books including The Dance of Death, published by Penguin in 2012, Dhoop—Chanh, a book of poems published 2009, Neelanjana, a novel, published 2007, Aks Mere Jazbaat Ke, a book of poems, couplets and ghazals published in 2006. Manna lives in Delhi.
“Every life is a journey, and you cannot reach the end until you have touched and experienced all the stations on the way.”
About the book:
Author: Manna Bahadur
Genre: Fiction/ Crime Thriller
Price: Rs 295
Text by Aarti Kapur Singh