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Book Review (Sutapa Basu's Dangle)


Title: Dangle
Author: Sutapa Basu

Sutapa Basu's Dangle is the story of Ipshita - an independent, successful, and confident woman. She is a travel show host, traveling abroad alone. That is the first impression.

Things are usually not what they seem to be. I could never understand the whole 'first impression being the last one' belief anyway.

Soon after I found yourself questioning this perception.


There seems to be some fear in her. Is it some past experience that is haunting her, I wondered.

Another important person in this story is Adi, an understanding, dependable, almost permanent fixture in Ipshita's life.

The story of these two is not a usual one. There are many layers to the past of each of the characters of Dangle.
Ipshita's struggles and the reasons behind them form the core of this book.

The story of Dangle moves from Chicago to Delhi to Manipur to Singapore.

Dangle has details of all these places and since it is written from Ipshita's point of view, she compares each of these places to her hometown, Delhi.

Surprisingly (and credit to the author for it) that this doesn't feel verbose or boring.

I especially enjoyed reading about Manipur - its' beauty, its' political instability, and the way the author analyses the two.


"Life hung on such a delicate thread! One yank and everything could go up in smoke; the identity of the victims be damned! This is the real dangle!"

Ipshita goes through life evaluating it. Seeing contradictions and changes. Seeing 'dangles'. 
Too many? Maybe. But I didn't mind them. Sensitivity (or over-sensitivity) does that to a person, I guess.

The thing is that pretty soon I guessed what was actually going on. Not that it mattered because there is much more to the story, but I would have preferred if I hadn't known. My bad, though... I just knew.

Ipshita's character is not one I can relate to. The story of Dangle is interesting, but as I said, I guessed part of what was going on.


For me, it is the writing that kept me hooked from the first sentence to the last. 
Every thought, every experience, every emotion is finely expressed by Sutapa Basu.

The intensity of Sutapa Basu's writing is such that you feel you live in the characters' head.

Another highlight in this book is the details of the life in the Army. The little details of both the comforts and the risk that an Army man experiences are woven into the story.

The title Dangle gets many interpretations through the philosophical thoughts of Ipshita.

"Life is always a dangle! Between now or never; between this and that; between being and not being; Life is how you see it, do it, take it."


"Life is a dangle... Yes, in a limbo between kindness and heartlessness..."

I did feel that the dangle angle was mentioned a little too often. But the premise behind the title is very good and the author usually creates a situation where the 'dangle' makes you ponder.

"She was alone but not lonely. That was the dangle!"

"Serenity can be a treacherous dangle!"


"...she balanced anger, bitterness and revenge against filial love and loyalty."

There is a lingering darkness, a mystery in Dangle that keeps you hooked.

*  *  *

The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.


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