Book Review: Six Acres And A Third

Chha Mana Atha Guntha (Oriya) by Fakir Mohan Senapati

This book belongs to my reading list this year. I'd never thought that something tagged as a 'text book' would give me immense pleasure. I could connect with the characters, I felt their pain, I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, I chuckled at the narrator's mischievous comments and most of all I finished the book in two days. Granted, I did that more out of obligation, but when you enjoy a book, you don't really care about the time. All you care about is finishing it off as soon as possible.

Six Acres has an unreliable narrator. Those of you who are familiar with Notes On A Scandal would know what is meant by that term. Just like the narrator there couldn't be entirely trusted, neither can you trust the narrator here. Written in the third person, the narrator's voice is going to have you in fits - fits of laughter, of disbelief, and fits of sighing at the fates of the characters.

The vivacious Champa is a heroine like no other, and the hilarious references to Sanskrit slokas would have you in splits. Of course, the story takes an altogether serious turn towards the end. However, it isn't till the end that the grim realities come to the surface to grip us firmly and remind us of the problems one faced during colonialism.

History springs to life in front of our eyes through the work of Fakir Mohan Senapati. He creates a village like no other and we are able to feel the emotions of the characters mentioned in the novel.It is impossible to review this book, without giving away the main plot. (Though some critics argue, that there never was a plot, in the first place.)

If you're in the mood for history with a satirical twist to it, this just might be your cup of tea. Sit back, relax and read this book. Soon you'd understand the mystery behind the novel being named, Six Acres and A Third.


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