By Suvasree Karanjai
Title: The Butterfly Effect
Author: Rajat Chaudhuri
Publisher : Niyogi Books,2018
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
(W.B. YEATS, The Second Coming)
The earth is doomed to be a ghost,
She who rocks all death in herself.
(Sophia De Mello Breyner, I Feel the Dead)
We all dream of a utopia, an ideal, the zenith of flawlessness and excellence. With the concept of utopia comes its inverse, dystopia, which lurks behind curtains with equal power to devastate and destroy. In recent times, dystopias have become an independent literary genre, a potent medium to envision and warn against catastrophes, a result of what could have started as an alternative futuristic ultra modern/utopian state. Rajat Chaudhuri’s “well-oiled” and polished novel, The Butterfly Effect,is a welcome addition to such tellings that aim to reiterate obliquely the oft-quoted saying: “With great power comes great responsibility” and to question whether we are ready to shoulder that liability.
The Butterfly Effect is a brilliant exploration of the local and the global, Calcutta and the world, in a post-apocalyptic state in the face of ultra-modernisation, totalitarianism and technologization.
Rajat Chaudhuri, an esteemed bilingual (Bengali and English) novelist and short story writer with a number of prestigious fellowships under his belt, has been involved with environment and development. His concerns are reflected in his earlier works (like Hotel Calcutta, Amber Dusk) as well as in his recent novel The Butterfly Effect (2018).