The Top of the Raintree

The Top of the Raintree

Product ID: 19896

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Author: Kamalini Sengupta
Publisher: IndiaInk
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 293
ISBN/UPC (if available): 818693930X


In The Top of the Raintree, Kamalini Sengupta deftly explores Calcutta in its heyday. Intricate personal, social, political and religious ironies are reflected through the surreal, the mundane and the real. The Rajmahal, a magnificent-turn-of-the-century Calcutta mansion on Chowringhee, is imbued with a life of its own, its spaces inhabited by pigeons, ghosts and a diversity of tenants.

Surjeet Shona, a complex hybrid, gets involved with the tenants, and their problems – a British couple adjusting to the new India, a Russian patron of Bengali theatre overwhelmed by the Great Bengal famine, an Anglo-Indian widow fighting alcoholism, an ageing Bengali fobbing off a younger brother desirous of his inheritance and an elegant Muslim family caught in the post-Partition Hindu-Muslim dichotomy.

Brick by brick, the mansion grows old; chapter by chapter, stereotypes tumble.


Kamalini Sengupta’s Rajmahal is indeed her Howard’s End!, But of course the encompassing achievement of the novel is its penetration of a new stage in our human history: so much is being written about what life was like, what personal distortions came to both colonialist and colonized during the colonial period; Kamalini Sengupta’s is among the first and unquestionably to me the most revealing of the life of the post-colonialist and post-colonised living on, somehow together. The colonizers who have lost the sense of what home they came from, and the colonized finding they have become inexorably something like the people from whom they struggled so long to gain their freedom.
-Nadine Gordimer




The Rajmahal
The Book of Nets
The Book of Inheritance
The Book of Famine
The Book of Hope


Surjeet Shona Moves In
Surjeet Shona Moves On
The Landlord’s Family
Surjeet Shona Goes on a Journey
Gurdeep Grows Up
Ali Mallik’s New Formula
The Immanent Junior
Twice-Married, Twice-Bereaved
Heavenly Hetaerae
A Love Story
The Scarlet Net