By Imteyaz Alam
“I’ve begun moving mechanically like a zombie, like a sleepwalker. And everything appears to be like a bad dream . . . nothing but a sleepwalker’s dream.”
The Sleepwalker’s Dream is the first novel in English by prolific Assamese writer Dhrubjyoti Borah. He is one of the eminent writers in Assamese, and has received several awards, most notably the Sahitya Akademi, a prestigious literary award of India. Being a practicing medical doctor, Borah deftly deals with the psychology of individuals and groups. The many shades of human persona are finely depicted by the author. Loyalty and treachery, cooperation and suspicion, discipline and defiance, love and lust are in the nature of human beings, and the same is displayed in this remarkable work of fiction.
Through the novel, the readers peep into Bhutan’s beautiful valley of lush green forests. The readers travel through tortuous terrains, the inclement weather and high mountains and deep gorges. One gets acquainted with the climate and topography of the region. The novel also showcases birds and animals of this Himalayan country.
The Sleepwalker’s Dream is a political novel. It is a story of a group of insurgents brought together by a quirk of fate. Most of the members fall into the trap as the raging fire swallows up combustible materials in its vicinity. A little strip of silicon – a SIM card issued in the name of June, the lone member of the rebel group, lands her in the underground movement. Similar is the story of other members of the contraband group.