- Author: Ratnadip Acharya
- Paperback: 312 pages
- Publisher: Aksora Publications LLP; First edition (28 July 2019)
- Language: English
Mumbai, December 2016: A young man found an ancient-looking piece of stone with strange images and Sanskrit inscriptions. A quest to know the origin of the stone brought him to the distant part of the country. Chandannagar, December 2016: A young vivacious historian woman read an old book on a century-old secret story about a little known part of the country. Her curiosity got the better of her as the book disappeared mysteriously before she could complete it. She reached a sleepy quaint state of the country to satiate her curiosity. Eventually they both met and their search began from the city museum to a far-flung rock mountain which revealed a century-old story of a seductive danseuse, her enigmatic lover, a string of her admirers, a painter with a photographic memory, a bird that could speak in many voices, a benevolent king and a gruesome conspiracy. And the most important clue to decoding the final secret was with the missing part of “The Speaking Stone.” But in the process of unearthing old secrets, their life was also in danger…
Books that educate you, which unravel before you what has been unknown to you for the longest time – be it a fact, story, emotion or anything – are undoubtedly important reads.
The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya takes us back in the early 20th century in the era of King Radha Kishore Manikya, ruler of Tripura. Though the book starts with contemporary Mumbai, we are continuously made to alternate between the past and the present. I really liked this piece of information about the King and his reign as I never heard of him. Without any doubt, the author has put a good amount of effort into researching the central plot and setting it properly. The story revolves around a mystic stone, The Speaking Stone, the significance of which is revealed towards the end of the book. Saikat is the protagonist of this novel who stumbles upon this enigmatic stone and sets on a journey to Tripura for discovering the truth behind its existence. In his journey, he finds Shuvashini who also travels to the same place in her academic pursuit. Both of them gel well with each other to work toward quelling their curiosities.
The story is well written and narrated. This being the debut work of the author has come out well. We constantly vacillate between the present and past and this smooth transition has been made possible by the author’s writing. I specifically liked the character of Saikat whose curiosity triumphs his lack of a degree in the concerned education stream. His inquisitiveness renders him enthusiastic enough to take the challenge heads on and work toward solving the mystery. The writing style has been kept simple for every level of the reader to understand and enjoy it. The coherence of the story is fine and the character development equally well. Although the book takes you on a remarkable journey, I found it a tad bit long. The book exhibits an immense potential to become a phenomenal read but what holds it back is the editing which definitely could have been better. The narrative could have thus been crisper and engaging. Too many details apparently not serving any purpose might mar a reader’s experience. Hence, it is advisable to polish the story with fine editing.
I loved the cover of the book, the title which perfectly complements the book and all of its characters. Although I was a bit annoyed with Shuvashini for her insincerity towards her prime motive, the excessively mushy conversations between two of the characters from the past; I, overall, liked the book.
My Rating: 4/ 5
BUY YOUR COPY: The Speaking Stone