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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  35 reviews
One woman. Two lives. Three generations. Four places.
Chitrangda Chatterjee, 32, has been moving from one dead-end offshore job to another. Kathputli’s story begins after Chitrangda has quit her latest job and sets out in search of the perfect story for her Great Indian Novel.
This takes her to a family reunion of her grandmother’s clan, where a story of the long-lost daug
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published December 8th 2016 by SiyaWoman
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  104 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have wanted to read Ushasi Sen Basu's 'Kathputli' for a while now. I took it out yesterday and I finished reading it today. The story told in 'Kathputli' goes like this. Chitrangda is not happy with her job and with her life. So one day she leaves her job, takes a break, and goes back to Kolkata to spend time with her family and relatives. She hopes to talk to them, learn about family history and hope to use those stories and anecdotes to write a novel, something she has always wanted to do. S ...more
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It takes a special talent to narrate complex family dynamics and complicated truths in simple, lucid prose that doesn’t drudge even once.

2 countries, 4 cities, a huge family, hidden secrets, strong female characters with their own shades of black and white – Ushasi has penned a Bengali saga that spans various topics like motherhood, depression/anxiety, child marriage, peer/parental pressure, sibling rivalry, domestic violence and glaring patriarchy, touching ever so slightly the pre and post-in
Ananya Chatterjee
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not the first time I am reading a book that carries two tales interwoven into one another. Crafting a non-linear story line is a tough task. The other books adapting this style have actually faded from my memory. But I cannot say the same for Kathputli. Ushasi Sen Basu has come out with flying colors. Switching deftly between the past and the present, between four different cities, like a master story-teller she has kept the reins of the tale strongly in her hands, never letting it go sl ...more
Got this book from a list of Indian regional books which was circulating in the internet be precise, In the senior reading raccoon group in FB.
The title was intriguing , and the story was very unconventional .
Liked it in parts , found it a bit dragging in parts .
The story of 2 sisters who were children in the 1930s and who face tragic circumstances due to vagaries of fortune .
The younger sister Latha unknoeingly harms the elder sister Mala, from there the story carries on
The reader comes
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
- Ushasi Sen Basu

A wonderfully refreshing read! I took the first few pages slow, actually very slowly… and then all of sudden I just was so engrossed in the story, it just drew me into it! Beautifully narrated and really, a story with a soul. I was gripped – I was quite convinced that the plot involved a story within a story and was happy that my Popsugar prompt would get fulfilled, but very soon was quite pleasantly intrigued & surprised at how the lives of so many people were involved
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An awesome book that I really enjoyed reading.
The voices that told the story were so relatable that I sort of lived it as I read it.
The Indian joint family with it's delights and foibles is well represented here.
A story within stories, it starts off in the present day with Chitrangda deciding to quit a job that is making her miserable and, enthused by an old memory of her wish to write a book, decides to do just that.
She heads home to Kolkata to her grandmother in the hope that she would get eno
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book had been in my TBR for the longest time because of the reviews that I saw on Goodreads; and I can say this for sure that I’m completely surprised by the craft behind “Kathputli”. The characters, even those who appear briefly, are well sketched and seen to be serving a purpose. I especially loved the way Mala’s story evolves, and how there is a sense of mystery right till the end as revelations keep pouring in. The most important part of this, without giving away anything at all, is how ...more
Archana Purohit
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Exactly the book I needed at this time. Was in the mood to read something light. Light, as in , easy to read but not in any other way. And this was exactly that book. Simply written yet thought provoking. Took me back to times when we used to read those family based Bengali novels exploring all the intricacies of family dynamics. Written beautifully so that as a reader you can feel the devastating loss, the futility of what happens. You can feel for the characters and what are they going through ...more
Namita Sreekumar
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a simple read yet so impactful! It left me sighing the minute I finished the book like I wished it lingered around a bit more. I loved the simplicity of language, how easily it transitioned between time and places without losing the crux of the story, the emotions behind every character-I loved every bit of it. So glad my friend recommended it to me.
Mamatha Kamireddy
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Few pages into it I thought that the book does not suit me. I tend to read fast but this book was not that kind. However, slowly I felt that I was getting into the book, the characters and their skin. The writing did not force it, somehow I slowly started relating to them. Perhaps because the characters were believable. At the end, I was empathizing with all the women of the story that spans across generations.
Not to forget, the book gives a very good glimpse of Bengali food and culture.
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
My last book of 2017, Ushasi’s first complete novel and my first book review :)

I’m usually content reading books and reviews, but an interesting reading group and Ushasi’s wonderful book prompted me to write a review for once. I received Kathputli as a lucky gift from the author herself, during a SRR group meet in Bangalore. Having had joined the group recently, I hadn’t heard of the book earlier.

The book follows Chitrangada’s journey in her quest of a suitable family story for her debut novel,
Kalyanaraman Durgadas
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Khathputli is a great debut novel by Ushasi Sen Basu​.

This is a story told by Chitrangada Chatterjee, a young woman in her early thirties, at a crisis point in her life. She is looking for a story to write and gets more and more drawn into the story of the mysterious disappearance of a Zamindar’s daughter. She gets a story after obsessively piecing it together, getting in fact, more than she bargained for.

I loved the narrative form of the book that is told partly as a novel within a novel (in fa
Meetha Shetty
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it


by Ushasi Sen Basu (a fellow raccoon 😊)

This book left me drained. Why? Coz I was so emotionally invested in the characters, that the way the story moved, sucked my feelings from me. I guess, somewhere in my mind I am still a child. Looking for Black and white in people, (and in characters)when life has taught me that world is full of grey people. So first you hate the character, then you feel sorry for them n so on n so forth, until all this 'yo- yo 'ing drains you.

Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The writer LP Hartley once famously said: “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Ushasi Sen Basu’s novel Kathputli (‘The Puppet’) forays into this unknown past – into the lives, loves and secrets of family members of the protagonist Chitrangda Chatterjee – and its unravelling in the present. The novel urges us to question how much we really know about the people dearest to us: those whom we see as benign grandparents, for instance, are revealed to be complex, layered ...more
Sriram Subramanian
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truth is a many-layered thing; the white light of purity that we search for teases us with its tendency to split into seven, and reform just when we think we’ve captured its essence.

Ushasi Sen Basu, in her debut novel, gives us a modern woman’s search for the truth about her family and about herself, and does so with amazing felicity, candour, texture and humour. As the protagonist Chitrangada Chatterjee traverses cities, countries, timezones and time periods, we are drawn into her search; the
Srilekh Sridharan
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Cover: I always prefer to start my reviews with how the book cover looks like. Many would say that one should not go by the cover and I do agree. But then no harm in describing the cover and my interpretation of the same. The cover depicts a puppet with multiple strings attached and beneath it says ‘In search of a lost woman’. As a reader my first attention went towards the beautiful lady in the form of a kathputli and I already had many questions on what is the story after all? Is it about ...more
Rituparna Ghosh
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I picked up Kathputali after reading the author's second novel 'A killer among us', which is absolutely amazing. So you can imagine, that my expectations from this book were sky high and Kathputli delivers on every count!

Set in bits and pieces spanning four cities, this book travels through Chitrangada/Kuhu's life as she goes about finding Mala, which could very well be considered as a metaphor for finding herself. Faced with a dead beat job, unkind flatmates, life has not been very kind to Kuhu
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Story of an established, well-to-do and old family of Kolkata and the incidents of the past. The ruthlessness of the men, the desire to "keep the good name of the family" intact and how the will and life of women become the fodder for that.
Two women, same family, generations apart, related closely but not known to the younger one. both face, albeit in different way, standing at the crossroads of life and not sure about which way to go. The older woman in her own way, with her own reasons takes d
Somshukla Ghosh
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of my favourite reads this summer...engrossing, mournful and uplifting.

Modern writers don’t always know what it was like to live in the past—despite the extent of their research. The success of the writing often depends on creating a convincing illusion. The author rises to this challenge with great skill in this accomplished, atmospheric and thoughtful first novel.

The interesting construction of the story line, interspersing the present and the past, provides great insight to the dif
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed reading Kathputli. Was drawn into the world of Mala, Puti and Lata ... the unfolding events in their lives kept me hooked till the end. As the story unfolds through the eyes of a Gen X protagonist, it makes us smile at her astonishment, that her grandparental generation led a more colourful life than her own. Sen Basu's deft handling of the characters and events has given the book a whodunnit flavour, making it unputdownable. Her nonjudgemental tenor of writing allowed me to d ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are books and there are journeys. But this is a book which was a journey in itself! After a long time I read a book which was beautifully written with so many characters who journeyed through different generations and I felt like I was a part of their story from beginning till end.

I especially loved the way the stories were written in parallel even when they were years apart. And I have to say that the way the Bengali lifestyle was captured, it kind of made me nostalgic. A must read i wou
Shrimoyee Sen
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The story of a woman, strong enough to question what we are expected to accept as normal. She leaves her safe haven in search of meaning to her life.
In the course of her journey, she finds several relations, revelations and mysteries which neither she nor her readers were expecting. It was a good reminder that not everything can be explained in black and white, even though it may seem so. The story builds up beautifully with the help of several strong characters, the narrative and the style of
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Addictive...neither did I want it to end nor could I resist reading it without a break..loved the style of writing, the humanness of the characters, the contrast of societal values and the way Chitra evolved through someone else's life story...waiting for the next kindle ebook by the author. ...more
Ramesh M
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great read. Brilliant portrayal of characters and narration. Loved the book.
Rema S
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With a gripping plotline, Kathputli is unputdownable. The book captures the essence of timeline & place very well, with surprises as you turn the pages. Can't wait for the author's next book! ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book describes the journey of a lady exploring her family's past in an attempt to write a story. What she learns about her family is more than what she had expected. The story runs in the past and in the present parallely but still doesn't confuse you. It keeps you so occupied that you never realize when the 2 things merge into 1 story line. The end however was a disappointment. It was a growing graph that came with a sudden drop. ...more
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent examination of multi -generational distance and forgiveness

I bought Kathputli on the recommendation of a friend - she said it was the best book she'd read all year. While I won't go that far, Kathputli is a solid, engrossing and thought provoking read, well worth the time.

Chitrangda is a creative young woman feeling ennui and depression in her corporate career. She quits with the intention of writing a book - any book, about anything. She spends her time talking to her reluctant g
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A real page-turner. Excellent insights into human behaviour.
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
The format of the novel within the novel is very interesting. The two interwoven tales are written very well – they are starkly different but the author blends them in well. It was only the ending that left me a tad disappointed. The premise and build up were so engaging, and the ending was completely flat – it breaks you from the reverie of a great novel. But I would still recommend this book – for the author’s storytelling skills in interweaving the two novels, and for a glimpse into the Benga ...more
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the protagonist Chitrangda's journey through different places in search of her perfect story. Ushasi has beautifully taken the narration back and forth in time and many a times it almost made me feel as though I were present in that room listening to the narrator. The glossary in the end is helpful for non-Bengalis like me but certainly doesn't interrupt the flow as most of the words are easy to comprehend given the context. Looking forward to many more interesting rea ...more
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