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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Guest Review: Land of the Well
Author: Sampurna Chattarji
Reviewed by: Madhulika Mitra
Too many elements took away the story.
One book which I was totally looking forward to has disappointed me at quite a few places. The snippet behind the book increased my curiosity levels and made me feel that it would be a good read. Quickly getting to the main theme of the book, it’s about youngsters who are totally misguided by the idea of Death.
The story is set up in Goa, away from the fun and the frolic (surprised? It was off season in Goa), about a young lad who has just finished his 12th exams, brilliant but very protected by his parents. This youngster has a very sad story to share about not having friends ever, always being shielded by his mom and dad, no decision of his own. For a boy of his age where independence is everything, he was being caged. And when you are sad you are vulnerable. This is where the other characters of the story enter Goa and the story begins. And he who is in dire need of friends gives in everything to be in their gang.
For the first time in life he breaks away from his cage and demands to stay back in Goa for a few more days alone. The strength to take this stand comes from straight from his heart after he sees a pretty girl whom he gets attracted to from the very moment he sees her. But she is not alone. She comes with a group of friends very weird in their own ways but with even more weird names.
He does manage to stay back after his parents leave, finally gets to taste independence but everything comes with a price tag. So what price does he pay: something which really shook me off. He meets them, gets their approval to be one among them, gets their appreciation but is all that for real or a very big trap he is unaware of. The book really held me till he narrates the story of “land of the well” but then the only constant term and feeling in the book was DEATH.
All these friends are traumatized scared and have almost stopped living their life because they are scared they would die someday. To be very honest I did not understand the book after a point, could be because it was beyond my understanding levels or because I always search stuff which I can relate to or a feel good/bad (this din feel anything-may be too mournful). There are a lot of crisscrossed love stories, lot of deaths and one murder or maybe not hidden in the story.
My advice: Pick up the book and try to finish it at one go. If not you might lose the flow.
After a point the book had a lot of repetitions of the same incidents, same characters and failed to leave a mark in my mind. I do not know which adjective I should associate with the book: Spiritual, philosophical, or morose. It’s for you if you can associate to one of these attributes closely. I would not agree that it was a mystery or even if it was, it was not carried out properly. A little lesser pages with a little more of suspense/proper story line would have done justice to the book.