A musical tale

Author Pushpak Sarkar's debut novel The Songwriter documents the bittersweet journey of a young musician trying to make it big.

Music and musicians’ lives have inspired authors since the beginning of time, and among them is US-based Indian author Pushpak Sarkar. With his deep passion and understanding of classical and contemporary music, Pushpak breathes life into his new book The Songwriter. Through the protagonist Ratul, the author attempts to bring together his passion for music and his understanding of the inner turmoil experienced by popular musicians.

“Despite being admired by millions of fans around the world, you find so much turmoil and saddening setbacks in their lives. Still, they continue with their passion,” observes Pushpak, and confesses that he was inspired to write after reading about the real lives of musicians like rock legend John Denver, John Lennon, Bhupen Hazarika, and R.D. Burman. “It appeared like an interesting coincidence worth exploring, and inspired me to write this book,” the author explains.

Inspired by real events, The Songwriter reveals the musician from Darjeeling’s quest to express himself to the world and receive acceptance in return. It chronicles Ratul’s journey from missed opportunities and disappointing heartbreaks to joyful surprises. “Choosing music as the underlying theme for my debut fiction work looked an easy choice for me, right from the outset,” shares the author, and reveals that he too performs at small community events in the USA.

Even though the book is fairly new, the author has been working on the subject for a while. Pushpak recalls that he wrote a short story about a man from the USA who returns to Darjeeling to visit his ailing mother and chooses to stay back in India, and wanted to take the same manuscript further with the book. However, it was much later, when Pushpak was bed-ridden owing to an accident, that he thought of completing the book. “I was semi-paralysed and bed-ridden so I seriously started working on the manuscript. It took me two years to complete the novel,” the author recalls.

With an effortless narration and consistent pace, the book grips readers with a killer combination of emotion, sympathy, and suspense. Diving deep into the field of music, the author makes you believe in the epiphany through appaling incidences. “I had to research a lot to ensure that the various experiences of the protagonist rang true, especially for the discerning readers who follow music closely,” reveals the author.

When asked whether he played it safe with the subject for his debut feature novel, he shakes his head, saying that the intention behind the subject was to convey an uplifting story that readers can connect with. “I chose this theme for my book to entertain my readers with an uplifting and interesting story of a young artist with all highs and lows. Our desire for a good story that makes us pause and reflect hasn’t changed in readers yet,” he concludes.

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