Review by Dr Oswaldo Paz

Joseph Joubert was an “author without a book, [a] writer without writing”, according to Blanchot, one of Joubert’s greatest critics, who later manifested his thoughts in the following lines: “There are only a few books that one may like for a lifetime. There are some which we will get tired of with time, knowledge and wisdom.” Joubert never wrote a book, yet he is one of the greatest literary names of his time, for he was only interested in leaving an imprint of his thoughts on his reader’s mind. The book we offer you today is one of those which will forever remain in the deepest place of your heart – an exotic story written with wonderful colour by Dilruba Z. Ara, a magical destination where all kinds of mischief take place.

A List of Offences is a symphony told with great force, a history of long silences. It is a revealing tome, full of information about the frequent and inhumane cruelties that are committed against women, within the family, in the name of tradition, ancestors and religion. This catalogue of grievances is relevant even now, in the twenty-first century. Even now, the simple fact of being born a woman is a sentence to come to the world with broken wings, to be subjected to slavery propagated by obscurantist fundamentalist dogmas.

The Bengali writer’s prose is beautiful, elegant, highly lyrical, tilting, sensual and wise. Reading it will be a solitary pleasure – a parenthesis for solitude – one slip of mind that can produce golden stars. A List of Offences is a blog of a bare-chested girl born with silver hair, she is the woman whose name is River. Her daughter is Shell. Names such as these do not fit any size, since they are commissioned to time and destination and they survive by juggling at night. The signs carved in this novel – including prayers, kisses, wishes, touches and silence of death – will make waves in the minds of readers who are ready to receive – or they might be the clues to solve mazes and liberate souls.”

Dr Oswaldo Paz y Miño (Ecuador and Uruguay)

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