With Abbas Miah, Kamal embarks on a Noah’s ark journey, with the motley survivors of the massacre that inevitably comes, to find refuge in the distant floodplains until the war is over. Along with a bombastic old actor, the village mullah, the village cut-throat, two Hindu boatmen, a foul-mouthed old woman, and a pious Islamist, who might just be a collaborator, Kamal discovers that there can be no escape from the war and the issues it raises.
As our guide to the painful emergence of the new nation of Bangladesh, Kamal is forced both to observe the face of evil, the complexity of betrayal, and look within to discover whether he has the capacity for true community, whether he can follow the injunction:
'If someone knocks on your door, you don’t ask who it is. You don’t even look at their face. You just do everything you can for them.'
Syed Manzurul (Manzu) Islam was born in 1953 in a small northeastern town in East Pakistan (later Bangladesh). He has a doctorate and was Reader in English at the University of Gloucestershire, specialising in postcolonial literature and creative writing