A Box Full of Darkness: Author Arindam Basu’s take on human frailties

Kolkata, (UNI) Imperfections and frailties of people one comes across in everyday life – in buses, on the streets, at spanky departmental stores or the vibrant fish market – form the subject matter of author Arindam Basu’s latest offering A Box Full of Darkness.

A collection of ten short stories, the book takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride through unexpected twists and turns. The reader ends up identifying with one or more of the central characters and is left either to ponder or rocked out of smugness, coming face to face with the murkiest secrets, which could well be his own.

A heart transplant patient who has unearthly visions, a parasomniac girl frantically looking for answers into her sleeplessness, a gamophobic man ploughing the furrows of his sins, make for some of the personalities recounted in the engrossing tales.

There are others also like a mythomaniac teacher who can’t handle her lies, a claustrophobic man stuck in an elevator and a patient suffering from persecutory delusion. A lifer looking for retribution and finally a trilogy of a hired gun complete the eight central figures in the book published by The Write Order.

Giving a peek into A Box Full of Darkness, his fourth book and second fiction, Basu said: “It’s a collection of short stories that are based on frailties within regular people. We meet them in our daily lives – in our offices, in between our daily haggles in the fish market or while sipping a cold drink sitting inside the multiplex.

“We never realise that these are people broken from inside by something that goes beyond their own comprehension. It is when they confront the fissures that run through their hearts, sometimes all hell breaks loose. The ten tales locked away in these pages are the kind of stories that will give you goosebumps, or make you reflect on your own life or experiences. You are taken to the peak and then left to stare scaringly at the drop below,” said the author.

A man of many parts, Basu is a journalist-turned-professor and a well-known public relations consultant, who has also dabbled in acting and anchored quiz shows. The vast gamut of his experiences shows up in the diverse range of characters dissected in the book.

Again he effortlessly empathises with some of the characters. For instance, he has been an insomniac for decades. “But that has only helped me in adding to my working hours, and concentrating more on my first love – reading,” he said, tongue-in-cheek.

The Book was launched on Wednesday at Oxford Bookstore here by Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) President Snehasish Ganguly.

“His last collection of short stories was unputdownable. I am sure this one will be equally intriguing, filled with wicked twists and turns,” said Ganguly after the book launch.

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