Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat | Book Review

“Beneath our feet exists another world, I learn, a network of infinite biological pathways, through which trees share resources, information, nutrients. Some regard it as a competitive system, regulated through self-interest, sanction, and reward. Others believe trees care for one another, and act as guardians, sharing resources, with the healthy supporting the weak. A free market versus a socialist’s dream.

For Shai, lost and drifting, a visit to her hometown in India’s Northeast offers the possibility of new ways of living.

For Evelyn, a Cambridge student, scientific inspiration guides her to the forests of the lower Himalayas and a world she has only read about.

For Johann, a German writer, travelling through Italy inspires him to develop ground-breaking ideas that will cement his place in history.

And for a young Swede, an unwavering curiosity for earth’s natural wonders takes him on an expedition that will forever alter the way we understand the world around us.

A marvellous exploration of our ways of seeing, Everything the Light Touches brings together people and places that seem, at first, far removed from each other in time and place. Yet as we discover, all is resonance, all is connection.

37. Everything the Light Touches

I remember being struck by the author’s writing in The Nine-Chambered Heart, a story that pieced together a woman as perceived by nine nameless characters. Her new novel promised more of that elegant prose and I think that’s what drove me to request this ARC.

Everything the Light Touches follows four people who, separated by time and place, share a love for travel and ecology. Their connection transcends time and yet their common purpose adds weight to the knowledge that people, like plants, have to find their roots.

The book has a lyrical prose with a philosophical bent that is explained using the language of botany. The characters’ individual journeys evoke a sense of purpose and belonging that is connected like a network of roots under the ground – invisible on the surface but a source of strength and nourishment.

As much as I loved the writing, I confess I didn’t quite understand the purpose of the characters’ stories. For me, it made more sense as short stories where the reader revisits each character. Or maybe that’s how it was meant to be. And yet, there were moments when I was utterly captivated by the poetic nuances. It was like a picture being drawn before my eyes – word by word.

One of those rare books that you enjoy not for the story but simply for the experience of reading.

Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat. This edition due to be published on 13th Oct 2022 by The Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins UK. This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and HarperCollins UK.

Book 37 of 2022.

Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟1/2.

Available on Amazon*.

About Photo: Reading about plants and trees and leaves, I was inspired to try out different types of leaves in origami. Each of these leaves is made using a single square of 80gsm paper in different sizes.37. Everything the Light Touchesb
About the Author: Janice Pariat is the author of Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories and Seahorse: A Novel. She was awarded the Young Writer Award from the Sahitya Akademi and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction in 2013. Her novella The Nine Chambered-Heart, bestselling in India, was published in the UK and in ten other languages including Italian, Spanish, French, and German.
She studied English Literature at St Stephen’s College, Delhi, and History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. Her work—including art reviews, book reviews, fiction and poetry—has featured in a wide selection of national magazines and newspapers. In 2014, she was the Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellow at the University of Kent, UK, and a Writer in Residence at the TOJI Residency in South Korea in 2019.
Currently, she lives between Shillong and New Delhi with a cat of many names.
You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.
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*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.


One thought on “Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat | Book Review

  1. Pingback: Reminiscing about 2022 | #BrunchBookChallenge – Aquamarine Flavours

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