I do not know how to start this review. The words are a little difficult to come by but I shall try. “Pages Stained with Blood” is not going to be an easy book to talk about. It is about 1984 and what the country saw in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The riots were not an easy time. They never are. No tension is. It is the people who suffer ultimately. It is the people who pay the price.
“Pages Stained with Blood” is a fictional book, but at the same time, because of the nature of the plot, it always resonates as being non-fiction and rightly so. It is the human frailty which depicts itself so starkly, that as a reader, I did not know after a point how to react to it.
The book is about Delhi and its adjoining places. It is about the capital, through the lens of a young woman who is collecting material for her book. She meets people along the way – telling her stories, falling in love with her and showing her new aspects of the city. This leads to the connections with people and their stories during the riots and what happens thereafter.
The writing was originally in Assamese, translated by Pradip Acharya in English. The writing is lucid and also fragmented which gives it the linearity and over all atmosphere is lent to the book. Goswami describes a time and place, which is unknown to most of us of this or the past generation. We have not gone through it and I can only thank God for it. The book tells it the way it is. The author at most points becomes one with the book. The narrator cannot be differentiated as well. “Pages Stained with Blood” is a marvellous piece of work which otherwise would have been hidden, had Katha not published it.