By Deepankar Kamboj
When I started reading The Beautiful Sky (TBS) by Harshwardhan M Patil (his second book), I didn’t have many expectations from the novel. It is a love story which is not my favourite genre and it was not a heavy, highbrow literary work which I prefer over light stuff. However, it turned out to be a very pleasant surprise.
Essentially a love story of Vian & Amyra, TBS takes you on a roller coaster ride of the life of the couple with all kinds of high, lows, trials, tribulations and triumphs. Vian is an artist who makes living as an engineer in a government department. Just like most of the poets, he too is a very sentimental fellow who takes all decisions in his life on the basis of emotions. He believes in the Law of Attraction and you can easily find people like him in your friend circle.
On the other hand, Amyra is a more practical, sensible and grounded person, a typical girl next door. They meet at the college where they study and, love happens. However, a week before her wedding, Amyra is brutally gang-raped and Vian is assaulted. How, Why, When, Where and What happens after that will be giving away too much of the plot which holds more than one surprise. It would suffice to say that the story keeps you hooked from the starting till the very end.
The most important takeaways from the book are the heart wrenching and shocking details of the post-rape trauma which the victim goes through and which takes months and years to heal, and the tenacity and perseverance of Vian towards his goals. The book deals with the former delicately and with maturity. There are moments in the book where you find Vian acting like a completely self-destructive idiot but the underdog wins your heart gradually.
The structure of the book is unique as it features a lot of Hindi poetry too by Vian and also quotations from a book that Vian has read and keeps on recalling regularly during different events of his life. Approximately, fifty per cent of TBS is made of poetry and a book within the book. A racy read, TBS reads more like a Hindi film script instead of a novel due to its plot and overall narrative flow. The language of the novel is not purely English with the characters switching between Hindi and English languages regularly.
Overall, The Beautiful Sky is a good read which entertains you thoroughly till the end of its last page.
Disclaimer: The reviewer has done the beta reading and professional story review of the book.