By Siddhartha Krishnan . 3 Min Read
There goes a saying, “Our pleasures are shallow, our sorrows are deep”. The undeniable attribute of melancholia, is that, it is slow and lingering. Unlike happiness it is never in a hurry to leave. Pankaj Giri’s novel, therefore, is a slow burn and deliberately so, which makes it feel like an ode to melancholia. It’s the story of Fiona and Soham and their traumatic past that is unwilling to give in to their resilient present, which hangs by “The Fragile Thread of Hope”. It’s a tale of love, loss, loneliness, regret and the power of hope. Loss is imminent but the baggage that it ensues often leads to regret and ruthless melancholy. The story moves at its own pace but cleverly leads to gut-wrenching moments of loss, which leaves the reader in a daze.
The first thing that strikes you about the book is the investment into its characters and that each chapter is dedicated to a specific character testifies the effort that has gone in. The characters are well-sketched, especially the leads, Fiona and Soham, and the author jumps timelines to unravel their arc. Another unique aspect of the storytelling is the use of delusions and dreams in vivid prose with the atmospherics playing an important role in them. Like this other-worldly experience that Soham goes through in a hospital in Bangalore after a ghastly accident, “A cool breeze caresses his cheeks, Soham finds himself on a chair in front of a wooden study table. Bright light streams in through the transparent panes of the window in front of him, blurring his vision. Observing the balustrade of the balcony beyond the window, he recognizes the place—it is his room in Gangtok”.
The writing has a rich poetic vein about it, which shows in the author’s choice of words and formation of sentences. There is a languid flow to it all. The other commendable aspect of the writing is its symmetry displayed through some clever use of analogies. As a writer I can vouch that this is not an easy task but they are critical to help the reader visualize a scene in their mind. Only skilled writers can pull this off with aplomb. The following is a good example—“She walked past a streetlight, a swarm of moths hovering around it like a gang of flirts”.
In May, 1886, Anton Chekhov once famously wrote to his brother Alexander, who was harbouring literary ambitions, “In descriptions of nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes, he gets a picture. This is where the author excels the most as he expertly transports you to places. The following description of a bike ride in Gangtok is a good example, “The farther away the mountains were, the more their colour seemed to drop from green to blue and then lighter shades of blue. Dark clouds looming above the hilly horizon were on the verge of swallowing the setting sun”.
Melancholy, undoubtedly has its own charm. It is strangely seducing and entertaining in its own way and this book is proof of that. After reading it, I was reminded of lines from a favourite Hindi song,
“Jashn ye raas na aaye,
Maza tho bas gam mein aaya hai.
Maine dil se kahan, dhoond lana khushi,
Na samajh laya gam, tho gam hi sahi!”
(Celebrations are deceiving,
Pain is more honest.
I asked my heart to go find happiness,
But the fool brought back sorrow)
I will recommend the book to all dreamers, brooders, wanderers and eternal romantics. For its well-sketched characters, poetic prose and attention to detail, I think the book is a must read. I will give Pankaj Giri’s masterfully written “The Fragile Thread of Hope” a 4.5/5.
Note – “The Fragile Thread of Hope” has been selected among “Amazon Best Reads” and the author is a finalist of the Amazon Pen to Publish contest (2017). The book has also received accolades from award-winning bestselling authors like Chitra Divakaruni (The Palace of illusions) and Renita D’Silva (The Forgotten Daughter).
The book has been published by Fingerprint publishing and is available at the below places:
Siddhartha Krishnan is the author of “Two and a Half Rainbows – A Collection of Short Stories“. He is also an enthusiastic blogger and on his website www.whatsonsidsmind.com, he regularly puts out his essays, articles, travelogues and film reviews.
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