Jayanta Gopal Borpujari’s debut novel Beyond the Blinding Sundeals with the eternal and universal themes of power, exploitation, resilience, compassion, friendship, and hope. At once a gripping, action-packed thriller, and a heartfelt narrative, the uniqueness of the story stems from the exclusive setting, giving a voice to the millions of migrant workers who strive for a better life in an alien environment. The novel brings to life the plight of unskilled and semi-skilled immigrant labourers.
This literary fiction interweaves the lives of three expatriate workers, one each from the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, their employers, and four native bravehearts. Set in the rugged Omani terrains, the story exposes their plight in the face of appalling apathy to their welfare. The immigrants ride their respective dreams into anonymity in a far-off land, hoping to return home with significant savings after a few years. However, the abused migrants face the combined might of their ruthless employers and a powerful state for mere survival. With the net closing in from all sides, the kind-hearted locals are the only hope in their search for redemption. They need to negotiate through treacherous valleys, labyrinthine ghettos, impregnable police check-posts, and an unforgiving mountain range to be free again. Else, the immigrant labourers risk spending years in dreaded detention centres somewhere in the merciless desert.
The novel’s plot and its characters are believable, vulnerable, and yet so brave. Through all the depressing happenings, there’s a ray of hope and goodness which makes the reading enjoyable and hopeful. Character development and narration is well strung together. The lucid style of writing and the tactical build-up to a nail-biting climax makes it an engrossing read.
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