Launch of Ghosts of Calcutta

Launch of Ghosts of Calcutta

H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India hosted the launch of Ghosts of Calcutta by Sébastien Ortiz published by Sampark Publishing House, on 23rd July 2015, 7pm at Residence of France. The launch was followed by a conversation with author and  Sunandan Roy Chowdhury, Publisher, Sampark.

About book

GHOSTS  of  CALCUTTA /  Sébastien Ortiz

Translated from the French original Fantomes à Calcutta by Sriparna Chatterjee

Calcutta lends itself to fact and to fiction. Writers explore the city’s history, novelists create their cast of characters with the city as the backdrop. But few weave fact and fiction as magically as Sebastien Ortiz. Ghosts of Calcutta is a play of histories, lives, myths. Here fact overlaps fiction, fiction meanders along the lanes of past. The lanes of past are lined by palaces in ruins, that create a past in the present. The present too is a play of lives and loves.

Ghosts have haunted Calcutta as long as the city’s memory goes. A young boy is killed in a duel between two Englishmen, the wife of the Commander of the British Indian Army declines and dies, a policeman is killed during an eruption of communal violence, the director of the Government Art College dies out of love for the female body. Numerous buildings of colonial Calcutta are today the haunted site of ghosts.  

Ortiz goes on the ghostly trail of the men, women, buildings that constitutes the many pasts of Calcutta. He also pens the life of a Bengali man, a lover of France, who loses his wife and lives an existence that is ghost of his vibrant past. Many lives crisscross, the poor Christian maid servant, her beautiful young daughter Rosemarie live pages across from the Bengalis in love with Dover Lane music conference.

As one grapples with life and love of Calcutta, Ghosts of Calcutta meanders through a city that is present in the past and weaves a narrative that is as magical as real. In the novel, we come across lines from Borges, where he says, India is bigger than the world. The protagonist of this novel feels, if that was so, then Calcutta is bigger than India. Could it be true!.

About Author

Sebastien Ortiz is the pen name of Fabrice Etienne. A career diplomat, he has served in French missions in Indonesia, Burma and most recently, in Calcutta, India. He fell in love with literature early in life, and his second love, that of Asia, has kept him engrossed for the last twenty five odd years. Starting out as a traveller and a volunteer in Asia, Ortiz has spent a large of his adult life in the continent. A student of politics and of Chinese language, his encounters with Calcutta and India began in 1995 and is alive as ever. His first novel Taleb (Gallimard, 2002 ) was shortlisted for several prizes in France, and has been translated into a number of languages. Fantômes à Calcutta (Arlea, 2009) is his third novel.  

About Publisher

SAMPARK is a literary-academic press based in Calcutta. It was founded by Sunandan Roy Chowdhury in 1998. Translations from Indian and foreign languages is a major focus of Sampark. The publisher can be reached at ‘samparkworld@hotmail.com’. Sampark’s books are sold by eminent bookstores and are available on flipkart and amazon.

www.samparkpublishing.com

Press articles:


 GHOSTS  of  CALCUTTA launch at Oxford bookstore, Kolkata

 

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