This is my fourth read of 2021 as well as the first one by this author, and I wasn't disappointed. The title, cover page and blurb were intriguing enough to entice readers to pick it up.
It is essentially a love story but the plot twists and its treatment offer the difference. The most endearing parts are those where the childhood of the characters are showcased in all their innocence and their growing up process adds on to their later lives.
The essential theme is sacrifice for love. There are a few surprise relents interesting into it and the end supports the underlying motif.
What is commendable is how the whole story is woven around only three characters - Raisa, Nirmaan and Afsana - in a compelling manner. The angst and challenges of all three of them, are interwoven convincingly into the story. The etching of each character is deep, detailed and engrossing.
Shanay, although deemed important, is largely a prop, to let us into the lives of the three main protagonists. He does take some precedence towards the end and acts as a fool to Nirmaan's character.
The irony of an academically brilliant guy being rather dumb in the matters of the heart is not lost on the reader. Nirmaan is just too blind to see the truth - the hazy line between friendship and love. I liked the depiction of the pure soul-sister kind of friendship between Raisa and Affu.
Afsana's behaviour doesn't ring completely true, especially towards the second half of the story. Why would a girl supposedly so deeply in love with a man for more than a decade jump into bed with such extreme nonchalance, with another man? It seems like a forced addition, solely to include a steamy scene into the story.
The structure of the book is different. It is split into numerous books that depict different time frames. What is interesting is the way flashbacks are narrated as numerous voice notes, to take the story forward.
It does make readers wonder if it is quite so easy to make/listen to the sheer number of voice notes that the book claims the characters work with.
My one grouse is the lack of translation for the pages of poetry that are part of the chapters. Also, the poems are in Hindi font as well, to facilitate Hindi readers. While they may add on an emotional charm to the narrative or storyline, they do take away the experience of unhindered reading for non-Hindi readers, especially if they do not comprehend the poems.
Overall, a good read. I rate it 4.3 out of 5.
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Happy reading, readers!