On a September Saturday afternoon in 2011, Martin Shawncross and Joya Bose in perfect synchrony surrendered their respective virginities. That Martin, a twenty-one-year-old American, had waited so long for this momentous personal event would have scandalized his friends and family were they to know about it. That Joya, a twenty-five-year-old Bengali, did not wait longer for this same experience would no doubt have scandalized her family had they come to know of it.
Thus begins this gossamer tale of love and discovery, reaching back to a past spanning four generations and two continents. Narrated through the seemingly banal story of a young couple falling in love in present-day America, Voice of the Rain Season explores by way of memory, history and old letters, the life of a family in a pre-Independence Bengal. It unearths through Joya’s discovery of the family’s long forgotten secret, notions of identity, homecoming, language and loss.
The heart of Dasgupta’s novel, however, lies in the glory of Tagore’s Rabindra Sangeet and the beauty of classical music, as it surpasses geographical boundaries and seeps effortlessly into the hearts of a people far-removed from the Bengali landscape.