The Speaking Stone
Author: Ratnadip Acharya
Publisher: Aksora Publication LLP
Dorothy Parker said that the cure for boredom is curiosity but there is no cure for curiosity. It is the curiosity that keeps our brain active. Based on the similar concept, The Speaking Stone, set in the astir streets of Colaba, Mumbai, brings forth a story of a stone that houses a tale of love, sacrifice and belief. A historical fiction that encompasses elements of mystery and romance as well, this book traces the journey of protagonists who decided to uncover the truth that remains hidden from the naked eye.
Saikat and Shuvashini are the two main seekers in the story who hail from a very different background. The quest to find out more about the ancient artefact (one half of the stone) brings them together. While Shuvashini is keen on finding a scoop for her thesis, Satvik is intrigued by the unidentifiable picture carved on the stone. Desperate to unveil the story behind that graven image, these two set out on an adventure that possesses a risk to their own life as well. While Saikat comes across as a know-it-all genial man, Shuvashini is the mover and shaker in this quest. Both have amiable personalities and their chemistry is likeable. The good thing about their romance is that it does not interfere with the purpose of the plot.
A story set some thousand years back also runs parallel to the present day. But never during the entire narrative does one fumble or gets baffled by the switch in the time zones. The narration is so fluid that it not only grips the readers but also makes the transition easier. At times, the descriptions of characters and setting are so well crafted that they become a perfect example for visual imagery! But at the same time, when the action is in full swing, these descriptions seem superfluous. I also wished that if the characters’ thoughts were italicised, it would have helped in avoiding the confusion between speech and thoughts.
The story is a complete pot-boiler. The best part is its diversion from the cliched climax where the protagonists decide against the predicted course of action. Some slimeballs are left to be taken care of by the mystical forces of nature and that seems quite relatable. The beauty of Parul, the ravishing dancer, has been described with sheer brilliance. The author’s prowess lies in extensive reason and collation of ideas and theories that are backed by logic and not myth. It is also commendable how the author chose Tripura’s Unakoti as the main setting- a place that is not known by many. Using the huge rock reliefs in Unakoti to illustrate a tale of how love conquers all- is truly applaudable!
Overall, The Speaking Stone is an intriguing work of fiction. Thus, patience is the key. The story, at times, might seem insipid but the very next moment it will pick up pace revealing new secrets. It is not a breezy read for sure because one might take time to absorb all information. Yet, it has been worked out so well that there is no loose end. The cliffhanger, in the end, acts as a cherry on the cake!
Best wishes to the author!
Buying Link: Amazon