The novel is a collage presentation of an Asian female writer's novel and an American poet painter's sketches. Ed Baker contibuted 23 nude sketches to the 23 Chapters of the novel.
"The Dark Abode" is the English version of an Indian novel "GAMBHIRI GHARA" , written in Oriya an Indian language by eminent Indian Feminist writer Sarojini Sahoo .
Well known for her frankness,Sarojini Sahoo, is a prime figure and trendsetter of feminism in contemporary Oriya literature. Sarojini Sahoo is a prime figure and trendsetter of feminism in contemporary Oriya literature. For her, feminism is not a "gender problem" or any confrontational attack on male hegemony. So, it is quite different from that of Virginia Woolf or Judith Butler. She accepts feminism as a total entity of femalehood which is completely separate from the man's world. She writes with a greater consciousness of women bodies, which would create a more honest and appropriate style of openness, fragmentation and non-linearity. Her fictions always project a feminine sensibility from puberty to menopause. The feminine feelings like restrictions in adolescence, pregnancy, the fear factors like being raped or being condemned by society and the concept of a bad girl, etc, always have thematic exposure in her novels and short stories.
Her feminism is always linked with the sexual politics of a woman. She denies patriarchy limits of sexual expression for a woman and she identifies women's sexual liberation as the real motive behind the women's movement. For her, orgasm is the body's natural call to feminist politics: if being a woman is this good, women must be worth something. Her novels like Upanibesh, Pratibandi and Gambhiri Ghara (The Dark Abode) cover a myriad of areas from sexuality to philosophy, from the politics of the home to politics of the world..
The novel "The Dark Abode" describes an unusual relationship between two people, a Hindu house wife of India and a Muslim artist of Pakistan. It is a net oriented novel. A woman related with such a man, who is experienced fifty two fair sex in his life. One day he asked, if she had any such experience .The woman (here after we refer her as Kuki) scolded him and insulted him by saying him a caterpillar. She said without love lust is like hunger of a caterpillar. Gradually they involved with love, lust and spiritually. That man considers her as his daughter, lover, mother, and above all these as a Goddess. They both madly loved each other, thru net, thru phone.
They talked obscene; they kissed each other on line. Kuki did not lead a happy conjugal life though she has a love marriage with Aniket.
The writer has projected two sets of life of a woman ,woman as a house wife and woman as a lover. The readers may find there is practically no difference between Aniket and Safique. If the former were her lover, then he would be like Safique and if the later were her husband, certainly he would be like Aniket. To live with a husband is a reality and to live with a lover is an illusion.
But Kuki, the protagonist of the novel, needs illusion seriously as she knows, such illusion has also a meaning which enhances her to live further. Gradually, Kuki made Safique a perfect man, a perfect lover and he alters himself from a life of caterpillar to a real lover. Lover, where no need to possess and only a sense of aesthetic nearness ruled all over the reason and provides a tranquility to live the rest of life.
In Pakistan Safique's second wife Tabassum leads lustful life. She has many boy friends, and she regularly attends night clubs for late night party. Once, one of his boy friends (a military man) offers her to his senior boss. Tabassum was very much shocked by this activity.
Gradually she suffered depression. Saffique raises the voice against the cruelty and becomes a target of military junta.
The novel is not limited to only a love story. It has a greater aspect. It deals with the relationship between State and individual. Safique, who is not a Muslim by temperament, and as a Historian, thinks the Pakistan of today is separated itself from its root and looked towards Arabian legends for his History. He protests that why the Syllabus of History for the school would start from 7th century AD, not from the Mahenjodaro and Harappa. This broad Saffique was once arrested after the bomb blast of London for allegation of being associated with the terrorist. But is it a fact? Later Kuki comes to know that, Safiques is trapped by Military junta. The ex-lover of Tabassum had revenged on Safique by arresting him with an allegation of terrorism.
Here comes the question of terrorism. We often speak about terrorism caused by an individual or by a group. We never discuss the terrorism caused by a State. And again, think over a State. What is a State? Is it a group of people reside within a Political and Geographical boundaries? Is a State's identity, mood and wishes are separate from its ruler ? Is the wish of George Bush is not considered as the wish of America ?Has it reflected the mood and wish of the people of America ? So, every time, the State's arranged anarchism or terrorism is mere a reflection of a terrorism caused by an individual. The great truth lies beneath Safique as a terrorist is actually develops from the mind of that military man.
Saffique's life is similar to the life of Picasso. He was a lady killer, later became a perfect lover and his art always represented his mental status. The perversion of Safique has got a meaning, when she was linked with Kuki. The Muslim artist painted an artwork of a Goddess and was once criticized by the so called media, when he proclaimed his creativity with a wide spectrum stand that an artist is above the land and religion.
The novel has a tragic end, when Aniket goes for Kuwait on deputation , and Saffique is arrested. Kuki once wanted to live with her passion and love but at last she had to remain with her emptiness. One day suddenly she received Safique's phone call .He told Kuki that his condition was like Kafka's K in 'The Trial'. He described himself as a culprit of his own destiny and though no charges were framed against him, he was kept in judicial custody.He informed Kuki about his short release in parole. He promised his love for Kuki and begged her love and asked her to wait for him.
The novel is written in poetic languages and the total novel narrates the net friendship of Kuki and Saffique through exchange of e mail love letters. It got a high ranked popularity when it was published in periodicals and is also proved itself as a best seller in the recent book fair.
The novel is not a mere love story only. Though love is a part of the novel, but it deals with a wider aspect. It is all about the providence of a woman in India, it also portrays a story how a perverted man becomes slowly as a perfect man, it describes the relation between the 'state' and the 'individual' and comes in a conclusion that 'the state' represents the mood and wish of a ruler and hence 'the state' is a form of 'an individual'.
Moreover it has a broad spectrum out look on terrorism and state sponsored anarchism. The novel has received overwhelmed reader's response in Oriya language and this is not because of the mere romanticism or sexual embellishment of the novel, but the struggle for a greater human value certainly made the novel a success one.
The novel has been translated in to Bangla and published from Bangladesh in 2007, under the title of "Mithya Gerosthali", ISBN 984-404-287-9, (Translated by Mr.Dilwar Hossain and edited by Mr.Morshed Shafiul Hassan ) by Anupam Prakashani,38/4 , Bangla Bazar,Dhaka -1100 .