The Tree with A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta | Book Review

Noted Historian and Travel Writer, Jan, Morris said of Kashmir: Kashmir has always been more than a mere place. It has the quality of an experience, or a state of mind, or perhaps an ideal.

It is no wonder then, that the author, Sanchit Gupta, dedicates this book ‘To the people of Kashmir—
those who live there,
those who used to live there,
and those who will continue to live there…’

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Inspired by true events, the story follows the lives of Deewan Bhat, Safeena Malik and Bilal Ahanagar, three innocent children growing up together in the Kashmir Valley. Amidst cups of spicy kahwa, and cricket matches paused by a broken antenna, they live in and around the protective shade of the tree with a thousand apples, whose roots and branches spread in peaceful coexistence. Until the night of January 20th, 1990, when insurgency destroys the tranquility within this beautiful valley.

Deewan is forced to flee his home, leaving only with a memory of the tree that still bears a thousand apples. Safeena’s mother becomes collateral damage, and Bilal finds himself in a life of poverty bound by fear. Overnight, paradise becomes a battleground and friendships struggle with fate as they are forced to choose sides against their will.

Twenty years later, when the three friends meet again at the cross roads, an exiled pandit longs for his home, an innocent civilian fights for justice, and a ruthless rebel aches for redemption.

At a time when all sense of right and wrong is lost, will these three friends choose to become criminals, or saints?

To find out more about this book, read my detailed review as published at Writersmelon.com.

Title: The Tree with A Thousand Apples
Author: Sanchit Gupta
Publisher: Niyogi Books
ISBN: 978-93-85285-51-6
Edition/Year: First Edition 2017
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 284
Source: Writersmelon.com
Rating: 5 Stars

Available on Amazon.

About the Author: Born and brought up in the hills of Himachal Pradesh, Sanchit Gupta began his career as a part-time copywriter with an advertising agency in Mumbai. He went on to co-found his own theatre group, worked as a freelance film screenwriter and as executive producer – fiction for a leading television network. His short stories have been published in several esteemed publications and literary journals and have won acclaim in leading literary festivals and online forums. One of his film scripts (fiction) has been long-listed in a globally reputed screenwriters’ lab. He has worked with All India Radio as a talk show host and regularly features in poetry recitals at Prithvi Café, Mumbai. This is his debut novel.
Apart from being a writer, he is a brand management professional with a wide range of brand building and communication development experience across FMCG, automobile and media industries. His works explore his fascination for global cultures, societal structures, vagaries of the world and the human mind.
He welcomes interaction on Twitter @sanchit421. Find out more about the author and his work at http://www.sanchitgupta.in.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com

Unns: The Captivation by Sapan Saxena | Book Review

Much has been said and written about love, the most profound of emotions known to God’s creations. I believe French Novelist and Memoirist, George Sand, wrote it best – “There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved”.  

While love may provide an all-encompassing feeling, its quest and fulfillment cannot be experienced in this one emotion alone, but in stages. The mystical philosophy of Sufism describes seven stages of love – beginning from Hub (Attraction), moving onwards to Unns (Infatuation), Mohabbat (Love), Aqeedat (Respect), Ibaadat (Worship), Junoon (Obsession), to Maut (Death).

Some may know of these stages, fewer may have lived through them. With his new book, Unns: The Captivation, Author Sapan Saxena takes the reader on a journey through these seven stages of love.

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Atharva Rathod and Meher Qasim meet as adolescents and are drawn to each other, only to be separated by circumstances shortly thereafter. Many years later, when they meet again, Atharva is on a covert mission. Caught in the battle between circumstances and destiny, willingly or unwillingly, Atharva and Meher transcend the seven stages of love.

Unns is a quintessential tale of love and romance, set against a backdrop of international espionage.

To find out more about this book, read my detailed review as published at Writersmelon.com.

Author: Sapan Saxena
Publisher: Inspire India Publishers
Edition/Year: 2017
Format: Paperback
Genre: Romance Thriller
Pages: 244

Available on Amazon.

About the Author: Sapan Saxena is a software engineer by profession and an author by choice. Born in the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, he earned his Engineering degree from MNNIT Allahabad. Sapan started writing when he was coding for a complex algorithm and found that a fictional story would at least make some sense.
Currently based in Nashua, New Hampshire, he is the author of Finders, Keepers. Unns-The Captivation is his second attempt at writing fiction.
To connect with him, visit him at facebook.com/authorsapansaxena or follow him on Twitter @sapansaxena.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com

Finding Juliet by Toffee | Book Review

When you’re young and beginning to grapple with emotions which until now had been unknown to you, it may seem difficult to find your way around them and emerge victorious. Put to test, you then do what seems best – use analytics and reasoning, and by a trial & error method, attempt to deal with it.

Alas, when the heart is naïve and the mind has not quite found its way, logic rarely makes sense, as the protagonist of Finding Juliet finds out.

Arjun is a simple, straightforward guy who believes cupid’s arrow will strike him when the time is right. The arrow strikes him all right. Not once, not twice, but three times. But when he starts to believe that this might be his true love, he finds himself rudely pushed away.

Dejected, he decides to move from Bangalore, in order to put the heartbreaking episodes behind him, and seeks strength from his childhood friend, Anjali.

In Hyderabad, Arjun meets Krish – an irresistible flirt, who claims to have deciphered the most complicated species on Earth – Women. Using Arjun’s past experiences as case studies, Krish teaches him the code to understanding them.

And then, Arjun enters a new phase of his life.

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Will Arjun also become a flirt like his mentor, or will he manage to find true love? Will his goal of everlasting happiness remain, or change track along the way? Finding Juliet is Arjun’s journey to discover the meaning of life, love, and lust, like he has never experienced before.

To find out more about this book, read my detailed review as published at Writersmelon.com.

Author: Toffee (The Alter Ego of Taufeeq Ahmed)
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
Edition/Year: 2017
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction/YA Romance
Pages: 224

Available on Amazon.

About the Author: Toffee is a simple guy who loves the complications of life. Earlier, he wrote code by day and books by night. Currently he is busy writing assignments and chasing deadlines in his Master’s in Business Analytics from the University of South Florida.
Toffee loves narrating interesting stories with subtle insights. Through books he wants to share beautiful stories, reach out to people and touch their hearts. Finding Juliet is his second book, written specially for India’s Generation-Y.
To connect with him, visit him at facebook.com/ToffeeIdiot or follow him on Twitter @ToffeeIdiot.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com

Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kané | Book Review

Those familiar with Valmiki’s Ramayana will recognise Surpanakaha as Ravan’s sister, who chanced upon the Ayodhya Princes in Panchvati during their exile. While she was smitten by Ram’s youthful good looks, he spurned her advances, claiming his faithfulness to his wife Sita. Rejected, Surpanakha approached his younger brother, Lakshman, who reacted in a similar manner. The brothers began to tease her and, upon realising she was being humiliated, she attacked them. Ram recognised that she was in fact a rakshasi (demon woman) and promptly ordered Lakshman to maim her. Thus, Lakshman cut off her nose and ears and sent her away.

Few know that Surpanakha, which means the woman as ‘hard as nails’, was born Princess Meenakshi – the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes. Growing up in the shadow of her brothers who were destined to win wars, fame and prestige, she instead, chartered out a path filled with misery and revenge.

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Ugly, untamed, brutal and brazen – this is how she is often perceived. Accused of manipulating events between Ram and Ravan, which culminated into a bloody war that wiped out her family, Surpanakha is often the most misunderstood character in the Ramayana. But was she really a perpetrator of war? Or was she a victim? Was she ‘Lanka’s Princess’? Or was she the reason behind its destruction?

Kavita Kané picks up yet another enigmatic woman from the pages of history and tells her story leading to the more familiar events of the Ramayana.

The book opens with Krishna, who upon seeing Kubja, the hunchbacked woman of Mathura, recognises her as a reincarnation of Surpanakha. He reveals to her that he himself is Ram, now born as Krishna (Ram was the seventh incarnation of Vishnu and Krishna his eighth) and has come to her to rectify the grave misdeed he committed in his previous life – of rejecting her.

He begins to narrate Surpanakha’s story from the time she was born as the youngest child of Rishi Vishravas and his second wife Kaikesi.

I can’t say I have much knowledge of ancient Hindu scriptures, other than the more commonly known events of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. However, while reading Lanka’s Princess, I was curious to know if this was a retelling of actual events, or a fictitious representation. I noticed later that the copyright page, which I had skipped in my hurry to start reading this mesmerising novel, clearly listed the disclaimer that this book is a work of fiction.

The author appears to have done extensive research as she combines the events of different versions of the Ramayana and other supporting texts (so revealed by a quick google search), to unfold the life of Princess Meenakshi a.k.a. Surpanakha. With deep mahogany skin and eyes blazing gold, she was a handful from the very beginning. Her character develops as the rage filled princess, hated by her mother, who would bare her sharp claws when someone tried to hurt her.

Alongside, the reader is taken through events leading to the rise of Ravan as King of Lanka and the ensuing effect it brings on his family, more predominantly Surpanakha’s life. The reader may sympathise with her for being the neglected child, while at the same time despising her for her vengeful tactics. The author portrays her not as a good or bad character, but simply as a misunderstood woman who, in her own eyes, is merely righting the wrong done to her when her one chance at happiness has been taken away.

The timeline moves fast enough for the reader to be absorbed in the events and not lose interest. In true Ramayana style, the author raises underlying questions about right and wrong, good and evil, gender discrimination, and women’s rights.

I was disappointed with the editing of the book. It probably needed one last round of proofreading to correct print/typeset errors. The author and publisher might want to correct this in the next print run.

To summarise, Lanka’s Princess may be a mythological retelling of events. However in today’s day and age, when women are still subjected to various forms of discrimination, the author puts the spotlight on a woman’s fight against injustice,  no matter how unjust the fight itself may be.

Having read this book, I am now curious to read her other stories of similar strong female characters.

Title: Lanka’s Princess
Author: Kavita Kané
Publisher: Rupa Publications
ISBN: 978-81-291-4451-5
Edition/Year: First Edition 2016
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 312
Source: Writersmelon.com
Rating: 4 Stars

Available on Amazonand Flipkart.

About the Author: A senior journalist with a career of over two decades, which includes working for Magna publication and DNA, she quit her job as Assistant Editor of Times of India to devote herself as a full time author. A self-styled aficionado of cinema and theatre and sufficiently armed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature and Mass Communication from the University of Pune, the only skill she knows, she candidly confesses, is writing.
Karna’s Wife her debut novel, (2013)was a bestseller. Her second novel – Sita’s Sister (2014) also deals with another enigmatic personality – Urmila, probably the most overlooked character in the Ramayan. Menaka’s Choice(2015) ,another best-seller, is about the famous apsara and her infamous liaison with Vishwamitra – the man she was sent to destroy. Lanka’s Princess (2016) is her fourth book.
Born in Mumbai, a childhood spent largely in Patna and Delhi , Kavita currently lives in Pune with her mariner husband Prakash and two daughters Kimaya and Amiya with Chic the black cocker spaniel and Cotton the white, curious cat.
To connect with her, visit her at facebook.com/authorkavitakane or follow her on Twitter @kavitakane.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com

Time to Smell the Flowers | #ILoveMyWork | Writersmelon

Back in November 2016, Writersmelon gave a writing prompt and asked to spin a little story around it.

The prompt was #ILoveMyWork and the idea was to write about the work you do, the work you’d love to do or whether the work that you’re doing is what you love.

An hour before the deadline, a limerick popped in my head which I recalled from something I wrote about a year ago. I thought it would make for an interesting insight into the work I did before and what I did now.

So I added about 150 words to it, just to make it worth its literary weight (in the literal sense), and sent it off as a laugh.

No wonder it came as a surprise when it got selected in the Top 10 entries.

Read it here: Time To Smell The Flowers. I am sure many of you will relate to it.

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Image Source: Stock Image from Dreamstime.com as also used on Writersmelon.com

Managing the Obsessive-Compulsive Reader in Me

You love reading and would rather be tucked in your favourite spot with a good book, or perhaps half a dozen of them, for some quiet company.

Trouble is, you are always on the lookout for new books, even when you have plenty of unread ones to get through. You can’t help but pop into a bookstore for a little window shopping every now and then, and somehow end up emptying your wallet at the cash-counter. You struggle to keep up with all the books that you want to read. So naturally, you have a TBR that is growing every day.

If you happen to have a TBR that looks like mine, then you too are afflicted with Reading OCD.

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As any book lover would know, this is incurable. But there may be a way around it.

To find out how I manage my Obsessive-Compulsive Reading Disorder, read my article published on Writersmelon.

If you’re looking for some book recommendations, checkout my favourite reads from 2015 and 2016.

How do you manage your TBR? I would love to learn your tips & tricks. So go on, share some booklove in the comment section below.

A Forgotten Affair by Kanchana Banerjee | Book Review

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There is an old saying – You don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. This may sound philosophical and yet, if you delve behind the deeper meaning of these words, you may be unable to deny their truth.

However, for one moment, try putting the philosophy aside from this statement and read it in its literal implication – What if you didn’t know where you’ve been? Or had no clue about your past? Where would that take you?

Debut author Kanchana Banerjee tells just such a story in The Forgotten Affair.

Six months after a near-fatal accident, Sagarika Mehta wakes up from a coma with no memory whatsoever. Her care and recovery is being monitored by a man who claims to be her husband.

A year later, with no improvement in her condition, he whisks her away to a new home in a new city, to convalesce. Despite the plush new apartment, and enough people to wait on her hand and foot, Sagarika can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong.

In her struggle to remember, she stumbles upon tiny pieces of a puzzle that she can’t manage to fit anywhere. The sound of an innocuous word, the smell of a particular cologne – they all haunt her. She also notices Rishab, the husband, is evasive when it comes to answering any questions about her past.

With a blank memory and no one to trust, can Sagarika uncover the truth all by herself?

A Forgotten Affair is a love story, yes, and a lot more. It is also a thriller where the writer creates enough suspense to keep you hooked, page after page. Every character is finely crafted to the point that you can almost hear the wheels churning in their head as they make their move, carrying the story forward.

Amnesia may seem far too Bollywood-ish, but it is frightening to even imagine being put in a situation as grave as this in the real world. Nonetheless, the author has successfully woven a tragic condition into a heart-warming tale of love, faith and self-discovery. By staying away from the conventional rules of romance and love, she has injected a unique freshness in this story.

She also raises important questions regarding emotional abuse, control, a woman’s right to choose, and her place in society, among others.

The plot moves effortlessly between the present and the past, revealing circumstances and incidents crucial to the timeline. The language is smooth flowing, which makes you race through the book even though you struggle to slow down and savour every word.

Like the novel, even the cover of this book expresses beauty in its simplicity.

I am already looking forward to read Kanchana Banerjee’s next!

Title: A Forgotten Affair
Author: Kanchana Banerjee
Publisher: Harlequin (An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers India)
ISBN: 978-93-5264-007-2
Edition/Year: First Edition 2016
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 200
Source: Writersmelon.com
Rating: 4 Stars

Available on Amazon and Flipkart.

About the Author: After writing feature articles for various publications, PR firms, and companies for nearly two decades, Kanchana Banerjee decided to pursue her long -cherished dream – to write a novel.
She holds a master’s degree in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. She lives in Gurgaon with her husband, son, and two dogs – Archie and Casper.
A Forgotten Affair is her first novel.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Image courtesy: https://harpercollins.co.in/

 

Graffiti by Joanie Pariera | Book Review

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Graffiti (/ɡrəˈfiːti/) noun
Writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view.

The novel is much like its title. It is a collection of events in the lives of two people, living in different countries, who are destined to come together and change each other’s lives through a peculiar connection. Although, the significance of this word in respect to the novel is much deeper.

Vipin, an Indian techie working in the USA, is grieving over the death of his wife. His friends and colleagues offer little solace, but not for lack of trying. In fact, their well-meaning attempts are a constant source of frustration for Vipin.

Rene, living in Bangalore, is trying to make sense of her dreams while dealing with her own heartbreak. Her boyfriend seems to have vanished into thin air leaving her pining for him.

As their stories progress in their respective time zones, other characters are added to the tangled web of their individual lives. There is Upasana (Upi), Rene’s closest friend who has taken it upon herself to fix Rene’s troubles. Then there’s Mark, who on one glimpse of her, believes he has found his soulmate in Rene.

Meanwhile, Vipin, surrounded by friends from his days of bachelorhood, is wondering if he will ever overcome this constant feeling of helplessness and get his life back on track, as Rene takes baby steps towards attempting to reinvent herself with Upi’s help.

The novel is largely narrated in the third person, with the exception of Vipin’s story that is told in first person (which is only appropriate since ‘Graffiti’ primarily revolves around him).

At the beginning, there seem to be too many characters being introduced into the plot, making it unclear where the story is heading. It takes a while for each of them to take their own paths.

The concept of ‘Graffiti’ is unique in how art may influence our perception of experiences and drive us to change in our lives. The book has elements of humour, drama, some suspense, and romance – specifically geared for an adult reader base. It is an exploration of situations and the complex relationships they create (or destroy), amidst changing concepts of Indian society. There are generous helpings of an earthy Indian-ness in the characters and their stories. However, the idea of India described here seems a tad dated, considering there has been a lot of progress in its culture and beliefs.

It may be recommended to put the manuscript through another round of editing, for both grammar and plot, before the next edition is released. (It can be irksome for a reader to pause reading when something doesn’t fit). Also, the reading guide (received separately) could be added to the ebook.

Title: Graffiti
Author: Joanie Pariera
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ASIN: B00B3R5QYY
Edition/Year: First Edition 2013
Format: Kindle
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 346
Source: Writersmelon.com
Rating: 3 Stars

Available on Amazon.

About the Author: Joanie Pariera (Pen Name), has apparently been thinking about writing fiction since the time she learned to say the word ‘pencil’. It came to be, that that was the first word her parents taught her to say. According to them, she then made up her own word for it just to see them squirm.
She likes to think she is a master of many things, including making up words. To start with she has two master’s degrees. She cooks, keeps house, codes and programs, and until recently used to write specifications for Information Systems for a living. Having traveled extensively, she has self-assimilated the cultural nuances of various unsuspecting anthropological groups and stealthily continues to put down her impressions in her writing.
To learn more about her, visit her webpage – http://joaniepariera.com/.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: goodreads.com

03:02 by Mainak Dhar | Book Review

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I remember when this book popped up on my Twitter feed a few months ago. One look at the cover and I knew I had to read it. It was screaming, calling out to me, and I hadn’t even read the blurb yet!

I can’t deny I am an impulsive reader. I read whatever catches my fancy – a creative book cover, an engaging blurb, a talked about author, and sometimes, maybe an interesting title. In this case, I hadn’t heard of the author. I assumed he was a debut novelist. Only now when I’ve read this book and looked him up, have I realised that he has written over a dozen novels and non-fiction books. Though, in all fairness, most of his novels are about zombies which don’t exactly find their way on my reading list.

Coming back to this book – there was one little problem. As eager as I was to pick this up, the rising tower of books at my bedside meant that it was only fair I work through my existing TBR pile before buying new ones. But that didn’t stop me from entering every giveaway I came across for 03:02. Then, out of the blue I received this in the mail, over the weekend, from Writersmelon. Well, let’s just say – TBR be damned! I utilised the best part of Sunday engrossed in this book and every minute was totally worth it.

As you may have guessed, the title of this book refers to the time – two minutes past three, on a Sunday morning – when all of Mumbai plunges into absolute darkness. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and no working cars. As strange as it sounds, it is as if someone hit the reset button to the city, only it never turned back on. While most people assume it is a temporary situation, the gradually emerging signs seem to point otherwise. It is unknown whether this is an accidental power failure or something more, or even how far the extent of it is carried. But when basic necessities, like food and water supply, start becoming a cause for concern, survival instincts kick in, bringing with it a threat to the city’s law and order.

The world as we know it, has ended. It is not enough to wait around, expecting the government to act, when none of the city’s services are functional. It is up to the people to seek out and conquer the enemy, even if it means waging a war in our homes and streets.

In 03:02, Mainak Dhar brings a story that is so impossible to imagine that it will leave you stunned. Advances in technology have propelled civilization at an unfathomable speed. Simple things that once mattered are now conveniently taken for granted. Our needs and emotions have become increasingly individualistic. Most of all, given a choice, we would expect someone else to solve a problem, rather than taking it upon ourselves.

Are we then capable to handle a situation that forces us to pool in every last available resource and unite to fight the enemy? When it is a question of survival, can we be trusted to think beyond our personal benefit? How far are we willing to go into the unknown to protect what rightfully belongs to us? Are we looking for someone to lead the way because that is the easier thing to do? When given the opportunity, how eager are we to grab power? The book puts up many such pertinent questions as a backdrop to this riveting thriller.

It also explores social hierarchy and the changing nature of relationships when subjected to intense circumstances. If we remove wealth from the equation of society, and are left only with our courage and intelligence, we may forge strange and unconventional bonds. The question that remains at the end is – does it take one man, or a community, to lead us to victory.

There is a lot more to this novel than I could possible reveal here, for fear of uncovering key plot details. However, I will mention that this is an intense novel, like none other I’ve read. Every turn of the page adds another multi layered dimension to the unfolding mystery and it is hard to let go at any stage. It has been an absolute delight to read 03:02 and I look forward to more such books by Mainak Dhar.

On a side note, I’d like to add that the personalised handwritten letter, along with the signed giveaway copy, was a nice touch by the author. Makes the experience of reading this book a little bit richer!

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Title: 03:02
Author: Mainak Dhar
Publisher: Westland Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-85152-96-2
Edition/Year: First Edition 2016
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 350
Source: Writersmelon.com

Rating: 5 Stars

Available on Amazon and Flipkart.

About the Author: After finishing his schooling at Modern School, Barakhamba Road and his under-graduation at Hindu College, Delhi, Mainak Dhar graduated from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He has spent two decades in the corporate sector — starting with Procter & Gamble in India. He spent eighteen years with P&G, fifteen of them outside India across the Asia Pacific region. In 2014, he moved back to India as the CEO of the India operations of a major consumer products multinational.
A self-described cubicle dweller by day and writer by night, Mainak is also the author of over a dozen books, some of which have been bestsellers in India and abroad. These books have been translated into Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, German and Portuguese.
He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Puja, and their son, Aaditya. When not at work or with his family, he can usually be found working on, or thinking about his next book.
To learn more about him, visit his webpage – http://www.mainakdhar.com, or follow him on Twitter @mainakdhar and Facebook.com/AuthorMainakDhar .

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Picture Source: aquamarineflavours.wordpress.com

 

A Broken Man by Akash Verma – Book Review

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It is said that failure is the stepping stone to success. Only those who persevere towards their goals despite setbacks, live to write their success stories. But what happens when your story is written before you even arrived into this world?

Krishna is a Dalit boy who is hoping to turn his life around with better prospects than what his village in Bihar can offer him. In his desire to change his destiny and make a name for himself, he allies with the leader of a student political party on campus, hoping that this would give him an edge in surging ahead on the path to prosperity.

Chhavi, the daughter of a respected and notable politician from a Brahmin family is fighting towards attaining equal and fair rights for the students of Lucknow University. By raising awareness of corruption and reservation on campus, she brings herself to the forefront of the debate.

Soon, Krishna and Chhavi find themselves on conflicting sides of the argument.  While Krishna may not understand the significance of the issues under question, he is determined to play his part of the opposition. However, when Chhavi is attacked during a protest, Krishna rushes to save her, thus turning their animosity into friendship. It takes a while for them to understand each other as they make their way through unfamiliar territory, before falling head-over-heels in love with each other. But can a Dalit and a Brahmin truly have a future together in this society.

In his third novel, Akash Verma brings you a story whose roots are buried deep under the parched fields of casteism and politics.  The author takes you through life as seen by a young man whose fate was written by an age old system of social divide. He reminds us of the little things we take for granted that are a luxury for many others.

The characters are drawn from life and the situation they are thrown into is what every city, town and village has been witness to in this country. Yet, what sets this book apart is the way the protagonist channels his hopelessness and pain, into fighting against his destiny. Of course, there are choices he makes and decisions forced along the way. But he uses every experience and emotion to write a few chapters of his own in his life story.

The book is written in an earthy, soulful voice interspersed with a more colourful one to differentiate the two main players –  their upbringing, emotions and outlook towards life. The author disguises valuable life lessons as short stories within the narrative which not only further the plot but make you pause and ponder over them. There are also many inspiring and thought provoking verses in devanagri script which reveal the emotional side of the protagonist.

There are a few lapses in editing that may irk you at times, but if you can get past them, the book might just end up giving you a much needed lesson in faith and determination.

Title: A Broken Man
Author: Akash Verma
Publisher: Srishti Publishers & Distributors
ISBN: 978-93-82665-69-4
Edition/Year: First Edition 2016
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 240
Source: Writersmelon.com
Rating: 3 Stars

Available on Amazon and Flipkart.

About the Author: Akash is an entrepreneur and Indian fiction author.
His work has taken him across the country and he finds this experience very relevant while giving shape to his stories.
He has authored two national bestsellers – It Happened That Night, in 2010 and Three Times Loser, in 2011.
Akash took up to writing fiction in 2007; and he attributes this sudden urge towards writing to his compelling passion in understanding human relationship and behavior.
He has a deep interest in music, literature, history and travel.
Akash is based in Gurgaon, India. You may email him at akashverma.author@gmail.com or visit his webpage http://www.akashverma.work. You may also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Note – I received this review copy from Writersmelon.com in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Image courtesy: http://srishtipublishers.com/