First Light

First Light

Product ID: 8067

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Author: Sunil Gangopadhyay
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2001
Language: English
Pages: 753
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0141004304


The long-awaited sequel to the award-winning, critically acclaimed and best-selling Those Days, this volume is a magnificent novel set at the turn of the twentieth century in a Bengal where the old and young India are jostling for space.

Prominent among its many characters are Rabindranath Tagore or Robi, the young, dreamy poet, torn between his art and the love for his beautiful, ethereal sister-in-law, Kadambari Devi, and the handsome, dynamic Naren Datta, later to become Swami Vivekananda, who abandons his Brahmo Samaj leanings and surrenders himself completely to his guru, Sri Ramakrishna.

The story also touches upon the lives of the men and women rising to the call of nationalism, the doctors and scientists determined to pull their land out of the morass of superstition and blind beliefs; and the growing theater movement of Bengal, with its brilliant actors and actresses who leave behind the squalor of their lives every night to deliver lines breathtaking in their beauty. Through all this runs the story of Bharat and Bhumisuta - one an illegitimate prince, the other a slave who rises to become the finest actress of her age - who cling to their self-respect and love in a society, which has little time for people like them.

Grand in its scale and crackling with the energy of its prose, First Light is a rich and comprehensive portrait of Bengal, from its sleepy, slow-changing villages to the bustling city of Calcutta where the genteel and the grotesque live together. Equally, it is a chronicle of a whole nation waking up to a new, modern sensibility.


ARUNA CHAKRAVARTI took her Masters and Ph.D. degrees in English literature from the University of Delhi. She is an author and translator of repute. Her first translation, Tagore: Songs rendered into English won the Vaitalik Award for excellence in literary translation. Her translation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyaya's immortal classic Srikanta, is deemed her best work, having won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award.