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Author: Sunil Gangopadhyay
Translator(s): Enakshi Chatterjee
Publisher: Orient Longman
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8125019022
Pratidwandi is set in the late 1960s when a sense of frustration and lack of purpose characterized the urban youth of Calcutta. There was cynicism and despair, and college students turned to communist ideology. Pratidwandi perfectly captures this mood. Siddhartha, the central character, is typical of this generation. His family had seen better days, but now with their tea estates lost, the father dead, and Sidhhartha, the eldest brother, unemployed, the family is compelled to send the young daughter to works. She rebels against this in a way which brings embarrassment and dishonor to the family, especially to Siddhartha. There is an intensity that defines Siddhartha from his integrity to his integrity to his seething rage.
The redeeming feature of this otherwise bleak novel is a streak of romanticism that runs through the narrative and the glimpse of a beautiful and innocent world which keeps the protagonist striving and the reader sympathetic to his cause.
Satyajit Ray made a film of this story. For him, Sunil Gangopadhyay is a very visual writer. The characters, incidents and relationships are all largely built up by means of sensitively observed external details, If the surface appears simple there is depth and density underneath.
According to Ashapurna Devi, an admirer of Sunil Gangopadhyay, The sensibility of a real artist can turn the common into uncommon, the ordinary into extraordinary. Sunil has the power to light up these areas. The light is clear but not dazzling.