Kanchana Banerjee’s second novel Nobody’s Child must make it to your Puja reading list
Kanchana Banerjee has been a writer all her life, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she made her foray in to the realm of fiction. The Gurgaon-based author has the year’s biggest thriller up her sleeve, and it may just give your favourite true crime dramas a run for their money. Her upcoming novel ‘Nobody’s Child’, which is set to release this month from Harper Collins India, has one of the most unusual premises we’ve heard in a while - it has a dose of everything, from reality TV to a probable fake death, the pitfalls of celebrity culture, and of course, a mysterious protagonist.
“My novel starts with the protagonist, Asavri lying on the streets of Mumbai, she‘s wounded and she’s clearly under the influence of drugs, and she’s discovered by a journalist. But as far as the world knows, Asavri died in a car accident soon after she won a popular singing contest. So, there are a lot of questions, whether she was alive all along? If not, why is this girl lying? This story has been with me for years actually; when I was a features writer, I would consistently write about human interest issues, about what people are going through, so the idea of honesty is something I wanted to explore,” Kanchana tells us.
The author tells us the taut 340-page thriller unravels entirely with the help of first-person narratives from three different people, a film journalist named Avni, a wealthy woman named Kamini Pratap Singh who has a score to settle with Asavri, and Monty, who keeps Asavri captive for some years. “These people talk about Asavri on their own timelines so the story shuttles between then and now, so the narrative structure of the book is also very interesting,” we are told. Kanchana’s first novel ‘A Forgotten Affair’ was a relationship drama with thrilling aspects, and got its start with a 3-minute pitch.
The author who’s an English graduate from Jadavpur University and has been a freelance feature writer for many years and was chosen to go to The Bangalore Literature Fest to make a 3-minute pitch for a book to some of the leading editors in the country. “There I met Ajitha from Harper Collins, who loved my pitch and forwarded it to their commercial fiction team, and that’s how my big break happened actually,” adds Kanchana, who also reveals that titles like Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and Martha Alderson’s Plot Whisperer have helped her shape her style enormously.