What If- the book you have received talks about unravelling a secret associated with the quaint place you have made your home for the last couple of years? What- If, you can relate to every location, description and imagery put forth through the literary devices? Doesn’t one get filled with a sense of déjà vu,nostalgia and anticipation for the secret to be unravelled? I am sure one will go through the same feelings which I went through while reading the book ‘False Ceilings’ by Amit Sharma.I received this book from the author through WritersMelon in exchange for my honest review.
The book lives up to the mystique generated by the blurb which is as follows :
“Born in the lush mountains of Dalhousie in 1930, Shakuntala is a pampered child of a wealthy builder. On her wedding night she is gifted a secret to use wisely when the time comes.
From the green valleys of Dalhousie to a village in Punjab reeling under the communal violence of 1947; from the Delhi of 1950s with its intoxicating smell of freedom to the Delhi of 1970s soaked in the hippie culture; from the Delhi of 1984 smelling of burnt tyres to the Delhi of 90s raising its Frankenstein of urbanization, the cancerous secret breathes with her, infects her. It is accidentally passed down, hidden under insecurities and jealousies, locked in its meaninglessness and leaving a trail of ruin.
When her great- grandson accidentally discovers the secret in 2065, he is perplexed by the malice that flowed in his family’s blood. Was it just the secret or his family would have destroyed itself even in its absence? Why was their love never greater than their unsaid expectations from each other?”
The language used is simple English but somehow I found it poetic! The story is narrated by an omnipresent third person and transcends time!
This family saga starts with the character of Aaryan and his muse – ‘The If-Else statement’. He comes across as an eccentric and cynical in a way and has the traits of his grandmother. This story indeed is a saga because we realize that a Mother-in-law torturing a Daughter-in-law too transcends time! Ironically, every female character (Shakuntala,Radha Devi) are innocent and strong headed with traits of a protagonist at the beginning but then end up as antagonists in another character’s life!
The imagery invoked by the lines and descriptions in the story especially when describing Dalhousie and the various wars -with not much fuss,is highly commendable.A reader is bound to be transported to that particular time frame described in the story- thanks to the minute detailing of the scenes,TV shows , riots and political atmosphere.Some of the similes and metaphors used are hilarious as well as thought provoking.I am quoting the following lines to support this view of mine :
“It was like sharing her favourite piece of jewellery with a notorious kleptomaniac.”
“He looked like a Jew in a concentration camp,starved and short on any hope.”
The writer’s views as below- on politics and religion through the characters are blatantly honest!
“Earlier,there was a struggle to acquire land, to have something that we can call our own.Now there is a struggle to acquire people for a religion.It’s like the Olympics.”
The story follows a non-linear pattern,which some of the readers might not be able to relate to. Also,the climax is not as exciting and gripping as the rest of the story. I so wished ,the book was devoid of errors that played spoilsport at some places and also the quality of paper could have been on the appreciable end! The book cover does not do justice either to a wonderful place like Dalhousie nor is it as intriguing as the storyline.However,the writer must be appreciated for having opted to this pattern of story-narration and cascading through the portrayal of the characters with ease,in-spite of this being his debut!
Do grab a copy to read this exciting story spanning across a century with myriad characters and characteristics concealed in ‘False Ceilings’!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and give it a rating of 4 / 5 !
Title : False Ceilings
Author: Amit Sharma
Genre: Fiction/ Saga
Publishers: LiFi Publications
I received a free copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.