The Sound of Water

Sanjay Bahadur

€ 15,00
Publisher: Cairo Editore
Pages: 240
ISBN/EAN: 9788860522214

India, today. Raimoti would have liked to be a musician. Instead, to pay for the education of his brother, Madho, he has spent his life digging tunnels in the coal mines, like his father and his father’s father before him. His days in the belly of the earth are marked by his ears cocked for the Sound of Water, and hoping to never hear that deadly sound, the faint dripping that preludes a flood. Because Raimoti knows that death by water is like a ferocious Beast ready to leap on its prey. Just as he knows that the underground lake, held at bay by fragile walls, is close, very close to the spot where his squad extracts its “pound of flesh” from the earth every day. When the Sound is heard, he will be the only one to know how to interpret it.

In fact, when something does give down there and the tunnels are flooded, Raimoti is the first one to realize it and to try his all to save his little group of outcasts which no one cares for up there on the outside. Up there where in the meantime officials, bureaucrats, the police, executives and no account politicians idly play pass the buck with the responsibility. Out of this throng of indifferent players only the engineer Bibhash Mukherjee comes forward and, in a recklessly courageous or perhaps selfish gesture, goes to meet his destiny. And meanwhile, up there on the outside, there are those who bury their dead before they’re dead, weighing how much they can get out of the terrible loss as meticulously as accountants.

In his debut novel, Sanjay Bahadur – a former director of the Indian Ministry of Coal – creates a narrative that goes beyond the social novel and speaks the universal language of the extreme moments of existence. So that the words of Raimoti said to his last companion are a hymn to the spirituality of every place and every time. So that the sound of water, the black entrails of the mine become a powerful personification of Fear. Fear of death, but especially of a life that no longer makes sense.

The author
Sanjay Bahadur, an economist, has worked in the Indian public administration since 1989. From 2000 to 2004 he was the director of the Indian Ministry of Coal. Today he works in New Delhi where he is associate director of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The Sound of Water, his debut novel, has been selected for the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize.

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