Monday, 8 July 2013

Review: The Homing Pigeons by Sid Bahri

Publication date: April 10th, 2013
Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Stars: 4/5
Source: Review copy (courtesy the Readers Cosmos Book Review Program!)
In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar, little does he know that his life will change forever…

When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom that she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it…

They say Homing Pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

REVIEW

The Homing Pigeons had a lot working for it; right from the beginning. The title, for one, felt 'comfortable' and left behind a beautiful image of what the book could be about. The blurb was enticing, further evoking the idea of two unsuspecting lovers who were meant to be, come what may.

And when I started reading the book, I was hooked, as the writing was so so beautiful. I was reading it at the same time as Fahima from I Read, Ergo I Write (which was a lot of fun! We've never done this before!) and we couldn't stop texting each other about it!!



At its core, The Homing Pigeons is a love story that grows along with the central characters; disentangling itself from obstacles and severing cuts and bruises formed out of momentary foolishness, crumbling backbones and harsh circumstances. But reducing The Homing Pigeons to simply "a love story" does not do it justice. In fact, I felt the love story was the weakest part of the plot- though it was definitely essential to carry the book forward. 

What truly sets this book apart is that it is set in 2008, during the recession and it is relentless in showing the depths to which one can sink to during this time and how significant both money and love are, despite wishful thoughts that only the latter matters. The protagonists, Radhika and Aditya, are figuratively and even literally at times reduced to commodities, cheapened when the supply is high or when demand and supply don't quite meet. Their paths skirt around each other, crisscross briefly before they skittle away until they finally intersect and reach the point of no return.

More than anything, it was the writing that drew me in. The writing morphed the characters into so much more, with both Aditya and Radhika's alternating points of view and the back story revealed in bits and pieces. Despite their imperfections and the endless melodramatic circles they ran in, it was impossible to dislike the main characters as they were so resilient. They braved through obstacles that felt real rather than manufactured or blown out of proportion. 

I loved how artfully the back story was unraveled, surprising you most of the time as connections you never saw coming are slowly revealed to you and it all clicks in the end. There are so many lines you want to hold on to, that make you want to pause and reflect and quote over and over again! ❤

"The pain lingered on, of not being able to garner the courage to express what I felt for her. I felt the agony of never being able to dance with her to the tunes of old English songs. I felt anguished that even if I met her later in life, I wouldn't be seventeen."

The last line, I felt, captured so much!

Another line that left me feeling as hollow and torn as Radhika:

"I stayed there, locked inside, sweating, unsure of who I was hiding from."

The Homing Pigeons is a book that definitely does not hold back with parts that may shock you, make you feel as broken as the characters and have you enraptured till you hit the final page. It is the most engaging Indian contemporary novel I've read so far and I was happy to hear that there will be a sequel. I haven't revealed much of the plot in my review but I can assure you that it is a wonderfully written edgy, sort-of controversial and thoughtful book that stands out (in the best way) from the handful of contemporary Indian books I've read!

This book review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program. To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com.


Rating: ★★★★☆

4 comments:

  1. omg! I love this! :D Great review, but then, I shouldn't really be surprised about that now, should I? ;)

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  2. I'm not sure I've read a book set in India. Sounds like an intriguing novel. I'm glad you loved it so much! It's always fun to read a book at or around the same time as someone else so you can discuss. :)

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  3. wow! That was a stunning quote. I loved it. You know I am such a sucker for gorgeous writing. I have never heard of this before, so now I am off to dig around and learn more! Thanks for the recommendation!

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  4. I've never heard of this, but is sounds moving and emotional! I'm usually all about the romance and you said this was the weakest part of the story, I find myself still intrigued. Great review, Pooja! :)

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HI. Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment. :)