by Rishabh Jhol
I was highly skeptical when I began to read this book. The title was not exactly encouraging and the cover page was uninspiring. Moreover, relationships? Er… um… I thought to myself. Rather pompously, yes.
My first clue that I had stumbled onto something potentially delightful was when I read this:
I am the spirit of love stories. I dwell in them, passing through narratives, to witness the landscape of lovers, and then to lay the fabric they weave before you.
~ Rishabh Jhol
The spirit of love stories as the narrator? Oh, how intriguing!
The next thing I found interesting was the professional background of the protagonist. Social Impact Leadership leading to engagement as a person who was development specialist and studied societies and gaps in access. The whole thing appealed immensely to me intellectually.
My appetite for the story peaked. I wanted to know more about Zehen, the protagonist. I wanted to see how a man like that navigated the unstructured world of relationships. I wanted to take him apart and see what make him tick. I was hooked.
The willing suspension of disbelief, a prerequisite to let a story find breathing space within you, had happened. I was ready to embark on the journey that the author wanted to take me on.
As I delved into the book, a surprising serenity pervaded me. I can’t pin-point the exact sentence which told me that the book would give me fresh perspectives and new insights. The solemnness with which the protagonist launched into his journey, rubbed off on me, somehow. I opened my eyes a little wider. The book lead me to discover pools of restfulness within me. What a happy surprise!
I have not been disappointed in the book, quite the contrary. I have pulled out many observations that I find quote-worthy. Gems like these, for instance:
Compromise – a scrunching of a dream, deletion of an arm of potential, becoming less than for another, as if we become together when we delete.
Deleting parts of yourself only so you can fit with someone else. Is there anyone who hasn’t experienced the trauma of that painful surgery? And even after wiping away a part of you, you find that you still did not fit. Oh the awful waste of it all!
Barring a few typos and some random misuses of grammar in the latter half of the book, the language is more or less impeccable. It is such a relief when you don’t get snarled in frequent grammar goof-ups which distract you entirely from the story. You can happily focus on going where the narrative wants to take you, experience what the author wants you to experience so that you arrive exactly on the same page as the protagonist!
Another thing that could be improved is the whole mystery about Madeeha. While I understand that the grey area was essential, it could have been handled more deftly. The way it has been done at present, it confuses and misleads initially, only coming together in the end.
For a book that affords such joys, this book is priced too low. I would willingly and happily pay many times over to read something as delightful. I wish I could transfer some cash to the author’s account. I would feel less like a cheat.
Sadly, neither the title nor the blurb do the book justice. I almost didn’t buy the book. Imagine what I’d have missed!
My rating: 4.5/5
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