Book Review: Anya’s Lyric by Nikhil Kumar


Book: Anya’s Lyric 

Author: NIkhil Kumar 

Publisher: Create space Independent Publishing Platform 

Genre: Poignant literary fiction (others might categorise this book into other groups, but I chose literary fiction because it brings out very important facts that our society faces each day – ‎the turning away of people even when they can see anguish, the teasing of those who are differently abled, the constant battle of having to prove oneself and the dilemma of coming out into the open after one has been molested)

In One Line: Events unknowingly joining together to form the ‘verse’ of the protagonist’s life.

Characterisation: Other than Anya, there are no names. But each have been intertwined into one another. And each one’s story is like a story itself.

The character I liked best is Anya’s father.‎ He is what he is and he does not have any qualms about it. Despite the fact that he is given some negative shades, the heart goes out to him in the latter part of the story.

Somehow, Anya didn’t leave a mark with me. Despite the author’s efforts to show the reader what her life is like, she did not give rise to sentiments within me.

 Language: The writing is fine – simple and straight. What the author has done nicely in this book is that he has simply written about hard hitting truths. He has dealt with negatives sides of humans and of the society without mincing the words. And yet there is no accusatory tone. Be that the rape scene that’s described in a sentence or the killing of the mother by the father in one word.

The imagery used in the book has also been nicely done. I, especially liked, the description of the cobble stone street, the lacklustre building and the floating plastic packet that the author has written about right in the beginning.

The fact that none have a name though, didn’t appeal to me much. Since, no names have been given to the characters and instead ‎’the man with one hand’, ‘the magician’, ‘the woman with a mole on her left cheek’ etc. have been used‎, at one point, reading these names over and over again started to become a little irritating.

Plot Setting: Other than the mention of Sainik Colony, one doesn’t really know where the story is set. But, after a while, it doesn’t really matter. Because the required imagery is there. Be that the bank, the train or the road where the ‘pot bellied’ man who stank of ‘burnt milk’ sat.

Book Cover Art: I didn’t understand the concept behind the cover. The silhouette of the girl looks too ‘model like’ to be Anya. The sudden bright circle didn’t depict anything as didn’t the tree from the head. I would have preferred something that matched with the word ‘Lyric’ or maybe a depiction of the last scene.

How’s the Title: The protagonist’s name in the title has been done innumerable times in way too many books. I was initially not too impressed with it because it wasn’t imaginative enough. But then I found a Deep Purple song with the same name. Some lines matched Anya’s (of the book) spirit. I don’t know if the author has consciously chosen this title thus, but this song sure added spark to it. This is line from the song that I loved the most (and thought that it matched with the protagonist’s spirit)

“A hidden passion touching a spark 

Flame of revolution burning wild in your gypsy heart 

Oh your gypsy heart 

Anya Anya the spirit of freedom 

Anya Anya ooh Anya”

Is The Blurb Catchy: The blurb is catchy enough and can raise the curiosity of a potential reader enough to pick it off the shelf.

Learning From The Story: he author has written the story of a differently abled child and her growth into adulthood. What’s good os that the entire tale has been done without turning it into a depressing one or into one that is didactic in nature.

 Areas Of Improvement: The time that the author has taken in telling us the individual stories was well paced. ‎But the weaving together in the end seemed rushed.

‎Also some stories seem to have been put a little forcefully and they haven’t really don’t add any depth to the tale. For instance, the part where the lost girl is raped or the story of the magician.

While the concept of beginning with a ‘story’ that has little connection with the main tale is unique and I must commend the author for trying this out; I felt that this was carried on for a little too long. A small ‘unconnected’ story would have made it more dramatic. Also, it isn’t really that the man ‘couldn’t read’. He was a postman who read the addresses and had been doing so for a long time!

What Is ‘Said By Not Saying’: Our society is filled with those who are immoral and empty. Each day, someone or the other, faces anguish – mental‎ or physical. And each day this person is then given a choice. The choice to face it and live or the choice to give up. People like Anya are the inspirations. They tell us that carrying on is always the right option.

This story also tells us how, almost unbelievably, we come across strangers who, most surprisingly, leave a huge impact on our life. While some affect us knowingly, there are many who do so even without knowing that they have. It is this latter group who we can’t curse or thank. They are just there who get woven into our being.

 My Reaction When I Finally Closed The Book: smiley - hmm   

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