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Tales from a troubled time

Diti Sen’s debut novel Red Skies and Falling Stars, launched recently at Oxford Bookstore, is a coming-of-age story set in Calcutta and Bihar in the Sixties and Seventies with the Naxalite movement as the backdrop.

Sen is a freelance writer who has penned a number of short stories and edited coffee-table books, textbooks and a story for children.

She said she relied on her own experiences while writing the novel.

“When the Naxalite movement hit the city, I was just a child. All I heard were stories,” said the writer at the Park Street store.

“But by the time the next surge in the movement happened, I was an adult. I saw the human drama being played out, the way innocent people were being caught in the crossfire. All of this got me thinking. This novel has been a longstanding dream of mine.”

Bharati Ray, the former pro-vice-chancellor of Calcutta University, launched the book.

“I initially thought I would apply my Presidency College training — reading the blurb and the first three and last three pages. But after sitting down with the novel, I ended up reading much more,” said Ray.