Book: Neil Must Die by Kaberi Chatterjeecategories: Book, Young Adult, Youth, India, Himalayas, Kolkata, Tuli, Trafford, Romance
Kaberi Chatterjeeabout this book: I wrote Neil Must Die in three weeks. Then the novel gathered dust for 10 years. A few people read it -- to be precise, about two or three -- liked it and I was happy. Publishing it really never crossed my mind.
I started writing it in June, 2000, after a camping trip to a beautiful place called Hodolchua, in Purulia, West Bengal, India. The beauty of the place inspired me to write. Hodolchua features at the end.
The title of the book and the cover just came to my mind… I cannot explain why. Though I tried to explain the tile at the last chapter of the book.
I cried when sad things happened to Neil and Tuli. So much, that I dampened the paper I was writing on and had to get a new sheet. It was as if I was watching their lives unfold, not creating their characters and writing their story.
No, they really did not exist. Glimpses of the characters in this novel may be found in everyday lives of everybody. And most people may find I wrote about them. But fact is that, I wrote about myself. My pains and pleasures of growing up. My loss of true self-identity and shocking revelations. My realization of the reality and learning to live with it. And then, escaping from the reality...
The hardest part of writing this book was when one of the main protagonists had to die. She just had to die; I could not give her life even if I wanted to. The story is set in the early 1990s, when medicine wasn't so advanced, neither was communication, at least, not in a developing country like India. Things dramatically developed in India over the last quarter of the 20th century; by then, my book was lost in the computer folder and publishing it never crossed my mind.
It was when I came to Canada in 2009 that a friend read the manuscript and cried. Her tears inspired me to get it polished and published. Sometimes only one person's inspiration is enough to let your aptitude unfold.
• "I have been all morning reading this book. You SHOW a story well with enough description that helps a person imagine the scenery and pictures develop in my mind as I am reading. I can't put it down, so I am in the house until I am done. " — Heather
• "I have read the novel and found it to be "unputdownable". The characters are so vividly brought to life that it's difficult not to identify ourselves with it. Excellent story-telling capabilities make this an exciting read." — Toni
• "Tuli's fate reminded me of "Farewell to Arms", because of the short but cute/romantic "kinda staccato" dialogues between them." — Rajat
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