Book Review :: ‘Dangle’ by Sutapa Basu

Genre: Crime/ Thriller
Publisher: Readomania
Stunning, svelte, smart Ipshita is a globetrotter. She treks across the world to gather bytes for the travel chats she designs and hosts for TV channels. Despite being a self assured and sophisticated entrepreneur, Ipshita is haunted by a nameless fear. Social interaction with men unleashes psychotic turmoil inside her, making her wary of male attentions. Yet, the cold and aloof Ips is inexorably drawn to the three men she meets at different points in her journey. 
Her arousal to the overtures of these men catches her unawares. Well-built defenses break as her dormant sexuality go into overdrive until she discovers the horrifying truth about them…and herself. 

Life puzzles. Secrets tumble out. Will she be able to reclaim her life or let it dangle.

My Review:

‘Dangle’, as the name indicates, draws our attention towards the delicate balances in life. The scale can tilt to any side, at any time, based on circumstances and one’s choices. The author ‘Sutapa Basu’ has woven the story around suave, modern-day woman Ipshita, who is on the verge of an emotional revelation, which takes her on a journey of identifying her strengths and weaknesses, and how to deal with the truth called life.

The intriguing storyline reveals various aspects of Ipshita’s life which play a part in making her what she is. Doting parents, and her childhood friend Aditya Rao who give her much required strength in trying times. Sister, Mallika and her husband Vikram give us a glimpse of how frailty and viciousness can strike a precarious balance to survive. 

The story seamlessly takes us through her assignments, around the globe, and her relationships ending into a shocking discovery which shatters the core of Ipshita’s existence. As she fights and conquers her internal demons, she is surprised with her reactions to opposite sex. Instead of freezing off men she begins to enjoy the attention and discovers her own desires and sexual needs.

Life’s philosophy narrated with a hint of suspense, a bit of vicious crime, and sprinkling of romance, Dangle takes one to an engrossing rollercoaster ride from high-flying Chicago city to Delhi to picturesque Imphal and beaches of Indonesia, not to mention army life and insurgency in North-Eastern states of India.

The author’s strong grasp on language, and research on various locales, culture is evident throughout the book. Her own poem and the translated poems/songs of Ravindranath Tagore make the story all the more rich and vibrant.

Overall, Dangle is a story about a woman’s struggle in accepting and overcoming her darkest fears, and embracing the realities of life. 

A highly recommended read.

PS: I normally don’t bother about the cover, but this one needs a special mention. Loved the neat concept and the way the title is placed.


Read an excerpt from Dangle
  The lilt of a flute fills half shadows. Emerald green silk unfurls to lavender hills. Mist gives way to a golden spectacle. Thickly embroidered into flowing waters are hundreds of lotuses. Sunlight dazzles on ruby, sapphire, turquoise, and amethyst that reluctantly open their layers to reveal honeyed hearts. The humming of multitudes of bees reverberates in the room. Intoxicated by the sun-drenched perfume of blossoms, they weave in and out of the pattern. Sheer colours daze the senses. Drumbeats intrude softly, only to rise to a crescendo.
Another shape enters the frame. Hazy at first, the outlines darken gradually. It is an empty square etched in bold strokes holding within it diagonally a metallic piece curved to the bent of an index finger. The lens zoom out.  The shape takes definition. It is  the trigger of a snub-nosed AK-47. The drums fall silent.
Everybody holds their breath. There is a thud and the face of Beauty is blotted with a gun stamped on it. There is a collective gasp. The screen stills. Strobes pick out a small crowd, including cameras on cantilever arms. Each person in the room is mesmerized…nobody can look away.

Giving a couple of seconds for the impact to sink in, the focus beams on Ipshita, the host. She begins the chat. Microphones pick up frequencies of her voice, enhancing its soft huskiness. Statistics and logistics start appearing on two screens flanking the bigger screen on which images are projected. She proceeds as visions of  paddy fields, stre
ets of Imphal, slim girls in phaneks with long raven-black hair flying, fishermen casting bait, rowing boats, sitting still as rocks for fish to bite fill the screen behind her. She goes on to the fascinating scenes of Loktak, the floating islands, the fisherman’s hut and through her words she builds up a metaphor. It is of Manipur, a dainty nymph struggling to escape rape by Mars, the god of war. She is crushed, yet nothing erodes her indomitable spirit. 

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About the Author

An author, poet and publishing consultant, Sutapa Basu also dabbles in art and trains trainers and is a compulsive bookworm. During a thirty-year old professional career as teacher, editor, and publisher, she travelled the Indian subcontinent, Nepal and Bhutan. She has visited UK, USA, Dubai and Singapore while working with Oxford University Press, India and Encyclopædia Britannica, South Asia until 2013 when she decided to start writing seriously. 

Sutapa is an Honours scholar from Tagore’s Visva-Bharti University, Santiniketan and holds a teaching as well as a masters degree in English Literature. 

As a publisher, Sutapa has developed and published around 400 books. Recently, her short story was awarded the First Prize in the Times of India’s nation-wide WriteIndia Contest, under author, Amish Tripathi. 

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