Book Review: Sutapa Basu's 'Dangle' is an intricate tale of battling inner demons
The book is an unusual psychological thriller which takes you to some of the most picturesque places in the world.
At the onset, first time author Sutapa Basu’s book ‘Dangle’ seems just like another story of a girl and her journey of self discovery. But as you turn pages of the book, you are left intrigued by Ipsita Sen and the people she encounters, you realize that it is not just a regular one but a psychological thriller where almost every character has multiple layers to their personality making it one of the most intriguing tales of recent times.
The story of course, centers around Ipsita, a successful travel chat show host. A globe trotter, Ipsita’s work takes her to myriad places across the world. While she is sought after for her work in her industry, a troubled past and strained relationship with a certain family member makes her weary of commitment and marriage. Apart from her loving parents, she finds comfort and solace in the company of her childhood friend Aditya Rao who proves to be her emotional anchor in troubled times.
Over the course of few months, the protagonist gets to meet three other men, Amar, Akash and Steve, at different locations where work takes her. Even though the meetings are short, all three of them prove to play a significant role in Ipsita’s life and create an impact on her psyche in more ways than one.
The story travels from the bustling streets of Chicago to the suburban neighbourhoods of Delhi to the disputed, troubled terrains of Manipur to the swanky, uptown homes of Singapore. Basu, through her writing, takes the readers to beautiful places which most often remain untapped in the literary circle.
Through Basu, you gaze into the beautiful, picturesque Manipur. Imphal and beyond; the writer takes you to the interiors of the forgotten state- where natural beauty and gun wielding insurgents exist together. Where locals do not bat an eyelid when they hear gun shots and where the Army has its say in every matter. ‘Dangle’ beautifully explains the sordid environment in which people of Manipur live; always in fear, where life literary dangles.
The book has several highpoints. Apart from the fact that the author has the ability to take you to different places through her writing, the story also stands out for its unpredictability- for its mystery and for the chaos that you witness in Ipsita’s life. She seems to have a happy life yet there remains a certain amount of uncertainty, a discomfort, and a faded unsettling memory of the past that just can’t keep Ipsita at ease ever. Her life dangles between the good and the bad memories. Her life dangles between the people she meets and who she falls in love with. The many dangles that life throws upon her is the crux of the story.
From traveling in jongas with the jawans in Manipur, to family vacation in Puri, to Delhi celebrating Durga Puja- the story is spread across several months- giving an insight into Ipsita’s life beautifully. The author uses personal anecdotes to the story so vivid and real.
With steady flow in the narrative, ‘Dangle’ is a page turner; giving insights to places that you may or may not have visited. It draws you to a story about a woman’s battle with her inner demons and keeps you engaged till the last page.
Price: Rs 250