Book Review: Sabarna Roy’s Abyss is an enthralling read

There are many genres in literature which have a small fan base, but the literary buffs whom these genres interest have a great craving to read more from these very genres. One such genre is that of contemporary fictional plays. Though theatrical performances and enactment of plays is liked by a lot of people, but reading contemporary plays doesn’t garner that much of enthusiasm. But a lot of great plays are being written by contemporary writers for the readers to relish. The author Sabarna Roy comes up with one such book “Abyss”, which is a full-length play in two acts with an interval in between.
The characters in the play include Debasree and Oindrilla- the mother-daughter duo, Oindrilla’s boyfriend Mriganka- a writer, Lalita and Ayan- Oindrilla’s cousins, Debibabu- a trusted aide of Debasree in the company, Samaresh- an IPS officer and Renuka- a private detective. Debasree is the chief promoter of the Lahiri group of companies.
The Act one of the play builds up slowly to result in a crescendo of conflicts between personalities and ideas finally to end with an unnatural death before the interval. Is it a suicide or a murder? This is the question that will have the readers gripped to Act two’s storyline. Act two evolves through a series of incisive interrogations to unravel the truth, which is deeply disturbing and affecting. The play is rife with elements of a riveting thriller and intense narrations, where the characters are seemingly complex and seem to be involved in machinations. Mriganka’s character as a writer suits the play’s premise very well, with his pensive stance and a peppering of this own book’s stories thrown into the play’s storyline. Many cliff-hangers and surprising revelations at major plot points also make this a gripping read.
The story is intensely plotted and the readers who don’t read much of crime thrillers will keep on guessing the whodunit till the climax. However, there are subtle hints in the plot and the final revelation as to who the killer is will be somewhat easy for experienced readers of mystery thrillers.
Certain philosophical questions also permeate the story of this situational thriller as there is the debate about using land for agriculture or for industry, the ethics of a working author and the nexus of a modern state all wonderfully enmeshed into its storyline and the personal lives of its subtly etched out characters. The central conflict between a mother and her daughter and its female sleuth- Renuka, collide in this storytelling tale of suspense, power, jealousy and desire.
This is a story where what is left lurking in suspense is more than what lies in full view to the readers. This play is a wonderful addition to the genre that interests a small coterie of contemporary fictional play aficionados. Also, at 118 pages, this book is good for readers looking for a short and riveting read.


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