(Read In International Mother Language Day in London 21 st Feb, 07)
“A List of Offences” is remarkable for its sensuous prose and poetic, dreamlike style infused with breathtakingly beautiful images and keen insights into human nature. Dilruba Ara’s novel charts skilfully the progress through life of a strong and exceptionally brave woman who lives inside a highly traditional and frequently oppressive society.
The book will strike the western reader as at once exotic and familiar, written in an English that is invigorated by the Asian Bengali influences of culture and language. In a circuitous and suspenseful narrative, Ara chronicles family tensions, intriguing relationships, social taboos, chilling superstitious beliefs, the tide of history — and the quest for love. Characters are brought to life in a great number of subtle and complex ways; even minor players in the drama stay in the mind. The novel is wonderfully paced, at once thought-provoking and entertaining and immensely readable.
Ara’s clarity of vision is impressive, her voice original, her story as a whole beautifully constructed and masterfully told.