A Hundred Little Flames – Book Review
There are a few Indian authors for whom I wait patiently every year despite of my reaction to their latest book in my hand; Preeti Shenoy is one of them. I love reading her not because of her stories, but because of the way she writes those stories. A Hundred Little Flames seemed different from what she has written so far right when I saw the cover. Although I would still wish for her to write something like ‘The One You Cannot Have’ again, I was excited to turn the first page.
It’s a breeze of fresh air.
A Hundred Little Flames revolves around Ayan, a 26-year-old guy who is sent to live with his grandfather Gopal Shanker in a tiny village in Kerala after he gets involved in a scandal at office and loses his job. By such a decision of his father, he is devastated. In his mind, a village that is isolated even from internet can do no good to his already existing condition.
However, when he reaches the place and interact with his grandfather, his thoughts gradually change. In fact, he starts liking his life there. But matters become worse again when he realizes that his domineering father, Jairaj has his own evil plans that is going to destroy everything. Then, there are some hidden truths that might change the way Ayan looks at his life.
In a nutshell, a young man, whose life lies ahead of him meets an old man whose life is all in the past and in a few months, everything change.
A Hundred Little Flames grows on you.
Quite frankly, I was a bit disappointed with Preeti Shenoy in the beginning; not because the book was different, but how predictable it was. It was an easy read right from the beginning and I was quickly turning the pages. But, it was everything I had anticipated before turning the page.
I would like to add that things remain the same way even ahead. But, the characters, they gradually grow on you and you become emotionally attached to them. Although it was the story of Ayan and I understand how Shenoy wanted to portray everything through his eyes and serve it to the present generation who, I believe has become too practical, the story of Gopal and Rohini was something that reminded me why she is one of my favorite Indian authors. It is the way she writes about relationship. Even though, A Hundred Little Flames was a bit change of genre, she has won my heart again for that very usp.
The relationship of Gopal and Rohini.
Shenoy has portrayed the relationship of Gopal and Rohini through journal and letters (that were transcripted as journal only). In a way, it is beautiful because that is what people used to do back in time. It serves as a homage to all those love stories that happened in the golden age. At some point, I thought what Rohini did was a bit wrong and somewhere in my mind, I still think it was a bit wrong, but they never crossed any limit, which was the beauty of their relationship. I can’t help but wonder if such kind of love exists in today’s world. Have we become too practical to embrace or express love like that?
It also makes me ponder on how one action you did not take when there was time can ruin so many lives. Why do people still resort to compromising their love for foolish reasons?
In the whole review that I have written so far, I have not mentioned how this also deals with other family issues. The greed of a son, the crude nature of a daughter for illogical reasons and how it all led to what happened in Gopal’s life.
Even the picturesque description is nice. Even though I’m never into it and usually skip the parts, but I know people will love it.
The Climax of A Hundred Little Flames
I hate Preeti Shenoy for the climax and I love her all the more. It was poetic in so many ways and yet, it hurt my heart, which was definitely one of her intentions. The fact is that as a reader I was so engrossed in Gopal and Rohini’s story that I forgot how this book was about the life of Ayan. ‘Sometimes, a journey back is a step forward’, the blurb says and it is definitely what happens to Ayan.
I guess, there is a lot to learn here for our generation and the future generations. I do feel the book could have been shorter and the predictability in the plot exists, but Preeti Shenoy has won my heart again.
And one exciting thing about pre-orders is the signed copy, which I would definitely flaunt here.
Buy A Hundred Little Flames