Book Review: The Lamentations of the Sombre Sky by Manan Kapoor
- ISIN: 9789352015849
- Genre: Fiction
- Price: Rs. 250/- (I got this book from the publisher for a review)
Kashmir — 1991
In between the insurgency and the exodus, Inayat finds solace in the company of Gul, a Kashmiri pundit, and Aaqib. She blooms under the eyes of her father, Maqbool — an alcoholic poet, and her mother — Wahida, who is fraught with sanguinity. They spend their days listening to The Doors in Gul’s backyard and attending Shakes-Peer’s English lessons at the school. However, as they leave behind their childhood, they realize that the future holds things for them that they have never even imagined.
Inayat comes face to face with loss as bereavement engulfs Kashmir. The echoing of the machine guns, the wails of her loved ones and the silence that she is bequeathed with is all that is left. The Lamentations of a Sombre Sky is the story of a skirmish with life and the perseverance in the dark times
About the author
Manan Kapoor was born in Shimla in 1993. He graduated from Panjab University in 2015. He discovered his love for reading, devouring the works of Orhan Pamuk, Haruki Murakami, Salman Rusdhie, Amitav Ghosh and Jhumpa Lahiri. He currently resides in Chandigarh.
With a cover like this I knew the author had a winner on his hands atleast in the first category of judging a book by its cover. Once you pick up a book based its beautiful cover you turn it to look at the blurb and reading the first 2 words - Kashmir and the 90s was enough! I was sold. Kashmir is a place that makes me go numb and through this book I relived that pain in those pages.
There were two things which took me by surprise. One the author is only 22 and two this is his debut novel. What a marvelous piece of creation he has managed with this book! This book is immensely powerful as the author takes you to a Kashmir way before it became what it is today. I almost thought either he is born and brought up in Kashmir or is related to a Kashmiri Pandit to understand their chaos so well.
His research is so detailed and the way he puts those things in words is impressive. One can always argue the minus being that he didn't highlight the political atmosphere or didn't even mention it but I would rather say I loved that the most. I give the author a brownie point for that as well. He didn't show me what I already see in newspapers or new channels. He gave me something that is more often ignored, the plight of the people living in Kashmir , their feelings, their lives, their fears and most importantly their existence. He touched a raw nerve when he laid bare those 3 tender and beautiful hearts through whose lives we see Kashmir.
NIL editing errors, no lapses in the plot and perfect story telling. His narrative is one that can make a reader time travel. The only minus I felt was the character-sketch. You could call me greedy but I wanted to know more about them, having said that it in no ways takes away the magic of this wonderfully crafted story. It is going to stay with me for long. And I will definitely recommend it to fellow book lovers time and again for its sheer beauty.
Don't miss this one if you love Kashmir or if you love reading books which are beauty personified!
This book is like watermelon and orange blossom lemonade in a hot, summer afternoon. It cools your insides and also makes you feel calm!