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See You In Ezra Street-bookcover

By: Ranjita Dutta Roy

See You In Ezra Street

Pages: 236 Ratings: 5.0
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See You in Ezra Street captures the dramatic uncertainty of a young woman striking up new roots, dealing with her love affair, while absorbing the dramatic lessons from her grandfather’s life in colonial India.

Born and raised in Sweden, the introverted life of Tanushree Roy Choudhury, a young music scholar with Indian roots, takes a dramatic turn when she suddenly gets strong hallucinations about her family’s past and starts searching for answers. Answers which her parents had always left unknown. Her research takes her from Berlin to London, where she again meets Joshua Salisbury, a shy and secretive physicist she had not only met once before, but whose eyes she was never able to forget. When by chance the two of them find out that their grandfathers – despite their different religious and cultural backgrounds – had been close friends and classmates in Calcutta in the early 1900s, they continue Tanushree’s search together. The revealing and candid diary entries, photographs and correspondence that Joshua’s family has kept teaches them about differences in values embracing religion, nationality, obedience to elders and romantic rivals in the lives of their grandfathers Isiah Cohen and Debendranath Roy Choudhury. They soon see themselves confronted with not only a hidden and to them unknown love affair, but also with the heavy impacts of war-split India on their close ancestors’ lives – deaths in the family and losing one’s home startling events which even after seven decades have an impact on the present.

Ranjita Dutta Roy is a Theoretical Synaptic Neurobiologist, living in Gothenburg. Her research work has taken her to different places around the world, but she was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, and has her roots in India. She comes from a family who suffered during the Partition of India in 1947, and this has given inspiration to ‘See You in Ezra Street’. On her free time she enjoys singing and playing the violin.

Customer Reviews
2 reviews
2 reviews
  • Barbara Bamberger Scott

    See You in Ezra Street
    Ranjita Dutta Roy

    Music, mysticism, separation, and war all play a role in this lively novel by author Ranjita Dutta Roy, whose family history has spun the threads for this beautifully woven tapestry.

    Dutta Roy’s tale opens in a nightmare. A young woman, Tanushree, is being overwhelmed by the fog of gas – like that of the victims of the Holocaust, which, in her confusion and anxiety she associates with the scenes in Calcutta during the pandemonium of Partition. It is a piece of her emotional inheritance that haunts her and talking to a psychiatrist in her adopted home in Berlin only makes matters worse, as she is being seen as someone poor and ignorant, due to Indian ancestry. In fact, as the story unfolds, readers learn that Tanu’s heritage could be traced to a palatial marble home in East Bengal, with education and erudition an expectation even for the females in the family. But the Partition years forced emigration to Calcutta. When Tanu meets a man named Joshua, she will begin to fit the puzzle pieces together, as, by a remarkable coincidence, Joshua’s grandfather Isiah and her own grandfather Debendranath, known as Debu, were partners in the legal profession and followed one another’s progress for most of their adult lives. Joshua has letters and pictures that will illuminate Tanu’s familial history, and the two will bond through music and a gradually growing sense of romantic love. For her heart to open to Joshua, though, Tanu must defy family, and tradition, uncovering new avenues of personal courage and conviction.

    Dutta Roy, a scientist and researcher, shows herself to be a talented wordsmith who has constructed this novel deftly, with chapters that move from the past and the relationship of Isiah and Debu, to the present, and the many mutual connections fashioned through the relationship of their two grandchildren. Settings include Sweden, England, Germany and India, seen in timeframes and intellectual perspectives over more than a hundred years. Deep issues are parsed as Tanu recalls the prejudice she suffered because of her dark skin among the blond, pale Swedes. The upheavals in India, the split between Muslims and Hindus that some believe to have been orchestrated by the British colonialists to gain tighter control, caused pain, terror, and untimely death in the interlocking families, affecting their heirs in numerous ways. Religious differences repeated through the generations also play a role in this tightly plotted panorama. A visit to Calcutta by the two friends becoming lovers in current times is highlighted by the couple’s walk down Ezra Street to the law office initiated by their long-ago kin.

    The author’s ability to move backward and forward in time, to show real people in the swirl of uncontrollable national and personal chaos, will touch readers who have pondered the events depicted. And, most especially, Dutta Roy’s dynamic work will speak to those who, alone or with family, have been forced to abandon a homeland and may acutely feel the loss of memories so important to shaping our vision of who we are and who we can become.

  • Emma Z

    See you in Ezra Street is a novel about a woman who meets a man.
    Where the present meets the past
    The reader enters and feels the ground under his feet in Berlin in the present and past, in Kolkata in the present and past.
    A loving greeting unfolds.
    People who meet and find that they belong together in a way they never imagined
    Then you get the smell, hear the music and almost breathe the air and can't wait to turn the page.
    R Dutta Roy has skilfully tied history and environment into an interesting and exciting read.

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