Book Review – Dream’s Sake

by Ahalya on March 21, 2012

My very first thought on reading the first page of Dream’s Sake was, ‘Finally an author I can recommend to those who ask me which Indian author they should read.’

There is a serious, not funny at all, dearth of books written in English by Indians who have a firm, well-tuned grasp over the language. What with the current flood of books written in what is known as ‘contemporary Hinglish’, featuring the lives of those hunting for love while cramming for grades, or those who are being constantly stepped over while climbing the corporate ladder, what book does one recommend young people today who are just discovering Indian fiction?

With her Jane Austen-like flair for writing about sentiments and laying bare the very hearts of young people, Jyoti Arora seems to get almost everything perfect in her first novel. Staying away from describing squalid lives, dirty cities, dubious business people, violence and gory crime — Dream’s Sake nevertheless packs in quite a punch by describing the pain and frustration of those limited by physical handicaps, or what is far worse, prejudices that handicap the mind and the heart.

The book centers around Aashi a tempestuous, strong-willed young woman who has definite ideas about what love is and what she wants from life. After surviving a major loss in her life, and showing no fear for taking control of a half-broken life, Aashi is certainly an interesting person. Where she does fumble, and fumble hugely, is in not recognising true love even when it meets her everyday, and takes care of all her needs. Priyam, Abhi, and Sid are the other three main players who have their own demons to vanquish.

Although, it took me some time to get through the book, (I do feel the book should have been pared down) I found that it was easy to get absorbed in the book, no matter how long it had been since I had read it last. Jyoti has that flair for describing the grey and multi-coloured minds of those in love and those who have lost love.

Jyoti’s hold over the English language, has to be read to be believed. Each chapter opens with a couple of lines from poems written by the masters of the craft. I really liked that touch. It seemed to be a humble thing to do, an author welcoming to her page, the sharp minds of literary giants.

I must add though, that while the main characters may seem too stereotypical, and ‘filmy’, I would say stick with the book. It’s her fluent narrative and turn of phrase that adds to the story, and doesn’t just make the well-known love triangle plot come alive.

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