The Autograph Seeker
 

Launching  at the Bangalore Literature Festival- October 28, 2017

1230- 1300 Hrs, Hotel Lalit Ashok

 

The Autograph Seeker

The Autograph Seeker

                                  the Autograph Seeker

An Epic 'Coming-of- Age' Romance Novel by

Tony V francis

During the British rule in India, fate throws together a diverse cast onto the stage of the San Souci Theatre – the Kohinoor of Bengal theatre, Esther Leach; James Barry, the theatre manager facing bankruptcy, Alice Anderson , the enchanting Englishwoman estranged from her husband; and Baboo Bustomchurn Addy, the dark Bengali actor infatuated with Alice Anderson and ready to kill for her.

Yet, history has forgotten this cast with the demise of the San Souci Theatre until discovered by Tony, a schoolboy in Calcutta, who is desperate to tell their story... of an actress who accidentally burnt right in front of a shell-shocked audience. Of a dangerous liaison between a married Englishwoman and a native Bengali actor. And a secret that has been hidden for the last 150 years! It was the end of innocence and the dawn of a glorious institution.  

To help Tony in this endeavour is an effervescent Anglo-Indian beauty, Vinny, who’s mute.

Peppered with autographs and amusing anecdotes, The Autograph Seeker chronicles the India of the 80s and 90s through Tony’s hilarious narrative, as he and his motley gang of friends unearth the story behind the steep climb and resounding fall of what used to be the greatest theatre in the country.  

 

What happens when a boy who talks a lot meets a girl who cannot talk? Their love tells the story in this epic coming-of-age novel.

 

 
Why are we here?’ muttered Gautam.
‘Earthworms. Pretend to search for them.’
‘I repeat, why are we here?’
‘You’ll keep a secret?’
‘No.’
‘Try, no!’
‘Okay, I’ll try.’
‘It’s a girl.’
Gautam instinctively turned towards the basketball court.
‘Please don’t stare,’ I begged, still looking down at the muddy ground, home of the earthworms.
‘They are from the deaf school!’
‘I’m aware of that.’
Gautam was surveying the girls on the basketball court. ‘Which one?’
‘The beauty with the ribbon on her head.’
‘She’s tall. Taller than you.’
I pretended not to make anything of that discouraging statement.
‘And mute.’
More harsh truths from my closest friend.
‘I know,’ I said faintly.
‘But cute.’
A 14-year-old is wired to peer approval. Gautam had just given his stamp of approval.
— The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 2

 

key Highlights 

 
 

Autographs

More than forty relevant autographs: The protagonist collects the signatures of individuals who define his time.Original autographs include that of Mother Teresa,Amitabh Bachchan,Clive Lloyd, and others……And continues with Dr.Devi Shetty, Kavita Krishnamurthi, Salman Khan, Javed Aktar,Shah Rukh Khan and others.

Whispering landmarks

The novel brings to life the whispering landmarks of Calcutta. Take a mind tour along with Vinny and Tony- Alice and Addy to the following locations-    St.John’s Church    South Park Street and Bhowanipure Cemetery.Princep Ghat,Auckland Hotel.The tomb stones of Henry Vivian Drozioand Job Charnock.Nirmal Hriday and

St.Xavier’s Collegiate School

                   Among Others…….

 

 
 
I spent months staring at the autograph. I felt it had a life of its own.A part of Amitabh Bachchan now resided in me.  Autographs represent my childhood, my failures, and my efforts to reassemble myself. - The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 1

I spent months staring at the autograph. I felt it had a life of its own.A part of Amitabh Bachchan now resided in me. 

Autographs represent my childhood, my failures, and my efforts to reassemble myself.

- The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 1

Esther Leach’s sun set on a Saturday morning.  At the Bhowanipore cemetery, great crowds gathered to bid their favourite actress a final farewell. Near the grave stood Alice. Standing some distance away, Addy, the native member of San Souci Theatre, watched Alice holding back her tears as her mother’s body was lowered into the grave. She looked so young, so desolate and vulnerable. Her innocence was captivating. Addy felt an urge to go up to her and console her. Of course, he knew the futility of the thought. - The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 2

Esther Leach’s sun set on a Saturday morning. 

At the Bhowanipore cemetery, great crowds gathered to bid their favourite actress a final farewell. Near the grave stood Alice.

Standing some distance away, Addy, the native member of San Souci Theatre, watched Alice holding back her tears as her mother’s body was lowered into the grave. She looked so young, so desolate and vulnerable. Her innocence was captivating. Addy felt an urge to go up to her and console her. Of course, he knew the futility of the thought.

- The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 2