Book Review: Shamsuddin’s Grave: The Story of a Homeless


TITLE : Shamsuddin’s Grave: The Story Of A Homeless
AUTHOR : Paromita Goswami
PUBLISHER : Partridge India
GENRE : Fiction


Simple & Appealing!



Latika’s wrecked personal front leaves her completely shattered. So when her ailing father reveals his desire to go back home, she doesn’t think twice and moves to her hometown. She joins an NGO and comes across a teenager rape victim. Much against her TL, Debjyoti’s wish she sets out to trace the girl with Shamsuddin’s help. Will she succeed or end up in big trouble?

Shamsuddin, a daily labourer, somehow manages to thrive in the city. Meanwhile, flood devastates his house in the village. His family takes refuge in a relative’s place where his wife has a tough time resisting to the advances of her brother-in-law. Can Shamsuddin arrange for an accommodation before it is too late?

Set in Guwahati amid the backdrop of flood and ethnic turmoil, “Shamsuddin’s Grave”, is the story of migration towards big cities for a better life.



A computer programmer by qualification, Paromita Goswami has successfully carved a niche for herself as a marketing professional with top companies. Ten years into the job she quit it to take up writing as a full time career. Since 2009 she has been freelancing as a travel writer and blogger on many online sites including Articlebase, EzineArticles, Linkroll, Circumference, world66. A big fan of Indian Cinema, Paromita loves to read Bengali classics.



Plot: A wonderful plot involving the state of the homeless Miya Muslims of Bengali origin who are ‘foreigners’ in their own land and are deprived of even the barest necessities of life. Their agony at being denied even a decent roof over their head is portrayed well through the plight of Shamsuddin the protagonist. One can easily relate to their sufferings and humiliation.

The twist towards the end, is the masterstroke.

Characterization : The characters of Shamsuddin and Lathika are well etched with all their imperfections. While Shamsuddin reflects the weak and oppressed, Lathika stands for the strong headed modern day woman who does not shy away from calling a spade a spade. The two reflect the opposite sides of human nature.

Language: Language is simple and hence easy to read and understand.


Storyline: Though the title and tagline hint to a story about a homeless i.e. Shamsuddin and his grave, in effect it turns out to be more a story of Lathika the social worker. Though the story started out with that of Shamsuddin the protagonist, somewhere down the line Lathika took over and overshadowed him. The story seemed to drift like a rudderless boat. It is then only towards the end that Shamsuddin surfaces again. Though the author had a very strong plot/prompt, I feel she fell short of taking full advantage of the same.

Editing: Flawed at many places. Apart from the typos, the usage of certain words seem out of place. To cite a few examples- Instead of using ‘after filling her thirst’ and ‘bear the bruise’ the author could consider usages like,‘after quenching her thirst’ and ‘bear the brunt’. They fit in better.

Style: Long, winding narratives in some portions took off the sheen from the story and made it burdensome. The number of pages could be cut down if only the author had not dwelt too much on certain portions that do not seem to have a bearing on the story/ do not contribute much to taking the story forward. E.g. – the scene at the tea stall in page 56 is too vivid. The whole thing would have left a better impression on the reader, if put across in just a sentence or two.


Recommendation & Rating: A simple read, I’ll give this 3 on a scale of 5. I’d have loved to give it more but the editing did really disappoint me. Hope future editions will take care of this aspect.


The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.


Shamsuddin's Grave



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