Prime Edition

Peer pressure and a disturbed psyche

1st Dec 2012

Land of the Well

Sampurna Chattarji

Harper Collins

Pages: 348 Rs. 350

Peer pressure can make for compelling motivation, even to the point of no return, sometimes. Sampurna Chattarji's second novel is the story of an 18-year old boy, a loner with an exceptional gift of story-telling. While on holiday with his parents in Goa, he accosts a group of young people who exhibit the kind of intimacy he has always craved. Amidst them he finds the ephemeral Momo, the woman of his dreams. When he impulsively stays back without his parents, things gather steam once Baldy (they all have these envy-inducing nicknames according to the boy) ropes him in. After a day of being ragged in different ways, he is finally part of the group. But things go horribly wrong when they trade campfire stories and when 'the boy' whips a tale so fantastical, even he has a hard time disbelieving it. At the heart of it all is the idea of the body as the mind's slave — simply a vehicle for ideas, disease, and decay. This expertly written novel keeps one on tenterhooks as it explores disturbed psyches and looks for resolutions.

— Nidhi Gupta

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