The Barn Owl's Wondrous Capers by Sarnath Banerjee is a gripping graphic novel woven out of strikingly colourful threads of history and modernity, madness and sanity.
The plot begins with the protagonist unexpectedly inheriting his grandfather's possessions, including the controversial journal, The Barn Owl's Wondrous Capers, which records the events of eighteenth century British Calcutta, a time when the city cauldron bubbled with several atrocious activities and scandals. Begins then, the long and arduous search for the journal, amidst lusting men and women, psychics, skull-crackers, drunken priests, stoned babus and more, who all -- in spite of their eccentricities -- seem strangely real.
The artwork tells a tale in itself. The characters are dynamic and captivating; the aftermath can leave you seeing them in patterns of bathroom tiles. Banerjee speaks with a casual, nonchalant wit that takes a minute to grasp, cleverly beckoning for a reread. That moment of enlightenment annotates exclamations in the thinking mind. Digital Dutta, who appeared first in Corridor, Banerjee's first novel, takes us through the journey of his own character, and leaves you feeling well-traveled.
Entertaining, explicit, hilarious and poignant with a philosophical undertone (I almost had to refer to a thesaurus for that) the book is just awesome oly ya. Only upon the second read does one realise the ingenuity of this work; the careful stitching together of elements, the mixing of those 65 essential masalas, to produce something that will awaken, shake, disturb and indulge all your senses.