She is enveloped in loneliness. The lush greenery and the overpowering stench of death are all around her. Mrs Rukmini Bezboruah belongs to the elite class in the provincial town of Parbarpuri. She is the wife of the District Collector, lives in a spacious bungalow on a hill, she is a well -educated part-time college lecturer, she has loving in-laws…yet, she has a strong sense of being incomplete…of not being…happy.
Set in the turbulence of an insurgency and protest-ridden Assam, the book gives Rukmini a ringside view of the abduction and killings by the extremists. Her husband Siddharth is seldom home and is constantly busy with the burgeoning workload at the administrative level. Rukmini’s desire to have a child is met with a barrenness of passion in bed. A chance meeting with a tyre salesman, Manoj Mohanty, their blooming friendship and an inevitable moment of physical tenderness bring colour and joy to Rukmini’s life for the first time in almost a decade. But the horrors to which she was but a mute viewer quickly seep into her life as Siddharth and Manoj both get pulled into the web of the terrorist violence.
The author Mitra Phukan has skillfully weaved into the story’s fabric both joy and sadness to tug powerfully at the readers’ heartstrings. The plot is well crafted and the language is simple and smooth flowing. The author takes us through Rukmini’s life at a measured pace which allows the reader to fully understand her state of mind and at some level even connect to her.
The book has the power to capture you in the first five pages and the sensitivity with which the tale is told makes The Collector’s Wife quite unputdownable!
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