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Puja Guha
The Confluence
Puja Guha, author

"An endearing tale of love, loss, and healing..." - The US Review of Books

The Kiterunner meets Monsoon Wedding during revolution in the Middle East.

The story of an Indian woman adopting her son as she brings her estranged family back together in fictionalized Sudan and Calcutta.

In 2045, Naina Ranjeeva writes a letter to recount the journey that led to the adoption of her son Nikhil. Decades earlier, she stumbles upon a lead on the location of her aunt,who had disappeared when Naina was just a child. After her aunt's disappearance, Naina's family also completely lost contact with her beloved younger cousin, Nitu. With her aunt's location in hand, Naina takes the first step toward locating her cousin by traveling to the Republic of East Africa to search for her aunt. Her journey eventually leads her to Calcutta where she finds her cousin Nitu and his three-year-old son Nikhil. After two decades apart, the family starts to bridge the gap caused by years of separation, within the backdrop of political turmoil and revolution in East Africa.

Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 4 out of 10
Overall: 6.00 out of 10


Prompted by her adult son Nikhil’s own impending fatherhood, Naina writes a long letter to her son explaining the circumstances of his adoption, which had previously been kept secret from him. Her account delves deep into family history as well as the politics of the Republic of East Africa. Informed by the author’s own travels, the narrative’s settings are evocative; less compelling are the plot and characters, which feel like they hold great personal significance for the author but lack the drama and development needed to resonate more broadly.

Date Submitted: July 14, 2016