September 29, 2023


Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Kitaab review of Nabina Das’ The House of Twining Roses: When Maps are More than Homes

2 min read

By Tikuli

NabinaTHE HOUSE OF TWINING ROSES: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped


Paperback 2014

INR 250.00

LiFi Publications Pvt. Ltd.


The House of Twining Roses: Stories of the Mapped and the Unmapped is a fine-layered collection of 17 short stories by Nabina Das, a Guwahati-born author with one novel and two poetry collections to her credit. Apart from the rich imagery that lingers on like a good melody, Das’ stories show a unique depth of plot and control of her characters. The reader feels the intensity of the stories through the complexities of the situations or characters.

Geographically, the stories are on a diverse map, sometimes a warped one. Das’ home state Assam features prominently. And although other places such as Bihar, Kerala, Bengal, New Delhi and the USA are also geographical markers for the stories, one feels a continuous movement, a search for belonging, and a need for anchoring throughout this book. The stories flow past their topographical signposts and boundaries and converge as one whole signifier of a place inhabited by common people the world over.

It’s a journey, like that of a flowing river. There is no restriction of time and space. The protagonists are always seeking a territory of the possible. They are exploring the unmapped as they chart the path of their evolution.

Twining Roses is definitely a book about coming of age, the cycle of life and death, and the fragility of events between a breath begun and ended. The stories especially probe girls and women trying to find themselves in the personal and communal histories and contemporary affairs of their times—ranging from Partition, the Assam student’s agitation, the tragedy of 9/11, etc. Their lives are woven around friends, families, passions and their relationship to each other going back and forth in time.

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