They say not to judge a book by its cover, but more often than not, the first impression of a book comes from exactly that. When it comes to Indian writing in English, quite a lot of novels veer toward the genre of romance. When I saw the cover of this book, I had a feeling that it would not be a romance novel. Though love does play a part in the novel, Turning Back Time is not about love itself.
Alia worked two jobs. She was the caretaker at a children’s daycare. She loved children and playing with them. The other job was at an old age home, giving the elderly company. They were like grandparents to her, and she meant a lot to the four over there – Raman, Sita, Hema and Girish. Their lives, and death, make an impact on Alia’s and change it. The novel and its parts deal with that. On another angle, Alia’s life story, with Mayank and her mother as supporting characters, continues.
I like simple reads, and Shravya’s narration is quite simple. Death is not something I like talking of, or writing on, so reading about it wasn’t easy either. When someone dies, their story still lives on in the hearts of those who know them. In this case, the four grandparents at the old age home share their story with Alia just before or after their deaths (through writing or such means). Their stories are different, yet familiar. Shravya takes care to portray the generation gap and the ideologies of those days and those settings quite well, at the same time making sure that their story influences Alia’s life in some way. The mindset of men being powerful and dominating women, or women being confined to the kitchen etc. is portrayed beautifully, and sadly. I liked the character of Alia’s mother too, and how supportive of Alia she is.
While death is helpful in bringing out a story, I didn’t quite like that it was needed each time for the story to happen. It makes the read heavier. Also, it felt like every big step was associated with death in some way as well. I’d have liked to see Alia’s parts in the novel continue in first person point of view, like the prologue and epilogue. I felt it’d have made a bigger impact on the reader then.
The book can be completed within a day, and I think the story is meaningful too. Though laced with the heavy emotion that death brings, I feel Turning Back Time does make us look at life itself, and make the choices that make us happy. I look forward to the author’s future works.
|Title: Turning Back Time|
|Author(s): Shravya Gunipudi||Genre: Fiction|
|ISBN/ASIN: 9789384382193||Publisher: Gargi Publishers|
(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
2nd November 2016)