Book Reviews,  Penguin Publishers

#Review: Under the Bakul Tree by Mrinal Kalita

Under the Bakul Tree
Author: Dr Mrinal Kalita
Publisher: Penguinsters

“Under the Bakul Tree,” translated for the first time from Assamese, emerges as a poignant and deeply resonant young adult novel that delves into the complexities of friendship, resilience, and the harsh realities of rural life in Assam. The story revolves around Ashim, the brilliant student who inexplicably drops out of school, prompting his classmate Nirmal to embark on a quest for answers. What unfolds is a tender and compelling exploration of the bonds that form amidst adversity, as Nirmal and Ashim’s friendship blossoms like the Bakul flower, standing firm against the challenges they face. Set against the backdrop of rural Assam, the novel skillfully navigates themes of poverty and the shortcomings of the education system, shedding light on the struggles of those marginalized by society.

The writing style of “Under the Bakul Tree” is evocative and immersive, transporting readers to the heart of rural Assam with its vivid descriptions and lyrical prose. While the book is primarily targeted at young adult readers, its universal themes of friendship, hope, and resilience make it a compelling read for audiences of all ages. The character arcs are beautifully developed, with both Ashim and Nirmal undergoing profound transformations as they confront the challenges of their circumstances.

In today’s world, where issues of inequality and access to education continue to be prevalent, “Under the Bakul Tree” serves as a timely reminder of the importance of empathy and understanding. Through its portrayal of the struggles faced by its characters, the novel prompts readers to reflect on the societal structures that perpetuate injustice and marginalization. Ultimately, “Under the Bakul Tree” is not just a coming-of-age tale; it is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the enduring power of friendship in the face of adversity.

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