Guwahati boy Somnath Batabyal’s debut novel, The Price You Pay, published by HarperCollins, was launched on Saurday evening (July 27) in the city. Eminent Assamese writer Mitra Phukan and Dhruba Hazarika introduced the novel to an engrossed audience.
Set in Delhi, the book is a scintillating exposé of corruption and the nexus that exists between the police, politicians and the press. Though offering a relevant social critique of the high and mighty, Batabyal’s genius as a storyteller ensures the plot never slackens. Delhi, as a reviewer states, is painted with “loving care and pitiless precision.” Noted historian William Dalrymple has termed the novel “pacy and addictive,” stating that The Price You Pay is a “terrific debut.” Best selling author Vikram Seth, who inaugurated the book in Delhi in April, said that he always knew Somnath had a brilliant novel in him.
The author, a former journalist and now Lecturer at the University of London, is a local boy who had studied at Don Bosco. He was also a national level badminton player representing Assam. Speaking at the launch, Somnath reminisced about his Guwahati days and how happy he is to be finally back and writing about the North East. “I had always been wanting to write about the place I spent my happiest days. I am grateful that I have now been given the opportunity to write my next two volumes on Assam which will be published by HarperCollins.”
Prominent authors Mitra Phukan and Dhruba Hazarika expressed delight that young Assamese writers are writing regularly in English and are being published by global publishing houses. “It bodes well for the next generation.”
More details about the author can be found at somnathbatabyal.com
Mitra Phukan and Dhruba Hazarika with Somnath Batabyal. Photo: Banajit