Book Review - Museum of Memories: A soulful journey of many lives, through many eras and across many worlds
Amrita Mukherjee’s book ‘Museum of Memories’ (http://www.amazon.in/dp/9385854194/) is a collection of 13 short stories which, as the blurb suggests, are tales inspired by reality.
Reading through the stories, you find yourself looking into a kaleidoscope of emotions and Amrita, with her lucid language and superior storytelling skills, draws you into a world inhabited by characters you have grown up with, characters you run into everyday, and the person you look at every time you stand in front of the mirror.
In terms of structure, these are short stories that speak volumes and mostly end unpredictably. One can breeze through the book from cover to cover. However, they leave you with images, questions and thoughts to reflect upon long after the last page has been turned.
How do we embrace those close to us before they turn into memories? How does a woman who sells her womb for a price then grapple not just with the empty womb but an empty heart? What does destiny have in store for a sex worker when her estranged son returns to take her home? How does a girl cope with the murky realities of the corporate world, growing up in a North Kolkata household with its archaic values? How does the ‘edited reality’ of lives on social media affect us? How does a learned man challenge social stereotypes by taking up chores of the household? How does a son undo the despicable wrong of a father in the face of the same abject poverty they both face? How does love emerge triumphant in a world torn apart by atrocities provoked by religious sentiments?
Extremely relevant in the context of the contemporary, yet so beautifully seeped in our traditions and in settings of days by-gone, seasoned with the scars, wounds, tears and smiles that we hold so close to our hearts.
You take away one learning from Amritas’ book – live your life before your dreams turn into regrets, before the present turns into memories.