Publication: Bloomsbury India Publishing Pvt. Ltd.
Page Count: 360 pages
This book starts off where we would usually expect most to end. After all, it’s not every day that one would start off reading about the death of the main protagonist. I mean isn’t that the most unlikely if not shocking way to begin a book.
The sudden and unexpected death of Uthaman in Bahrain sets off a whole flurry of events. The initial actions and reactions of his friends, workmates, employers and of course his family are expressed in such a matter of fact manner that one can simply look on in a detached manner. According to Hindu customs, over the next 42 days, the Soul takes its time to get ready and move on to the next realm of its onward and upward journey. That is when the final rites are performed and the soul is set free.
Over this period, the Author takes us back and forth telling us about the short life of Uthaman. The youngest and eagerly awaited boy born after several sisters in an idyllic village of Kerala. His journey from childhood to college is interspersed with glimpses of young love followed by the inevitable hurdles, responsibilities and youthful dilemmas. Despite his initial reluctance, Uthaman does take on the mantle of responsibilities though unfortunately succumbing way earlier leaving behind the distraught women and innocent son who regroup and slowly build on their inner quiet strength.
Despite its morbid theme, this novel turned out to be quite the page-turner. Simply yet beautifully written, the author manages to keep you engrossed right till the very end. The characterization is well defined and you can actually imagine as the events unfold.
Though inherently a tragic book that deals with a young death, you still find some kind of hope and peace by the end. Not really philosophical but you do get insights about Hindu traditions and culture.