Thursday, 14 February 2019

Half Torn Hearts by Novoneel Chakraborty: a review

Novoneel Chakraborty has consistently maintained that his fourteenth book,  Half Torn Hearts is his most autobiographical work till date. Now, having finished the book I know how it surely is but also,  how skillfully he has knitted the story to seem fictional to the world. I asked him if he had a favorite character from the book, he's spoilt for choice,  he said. A seemingly simple cover where the title is mentioned with unassuming pictures of stone, pappers, scissors is something that is the first undertone that Chakraborty has set up.

About the book- The greatest loss in life is what love kills within us.  Life is good for Shanay Bansal-he is due to get married in a few months and has been nominated for a prestigious award by Business Right Now.  Until he receives a mysterious voice note from an unknown number one night. It's a woman's voice telling him that be is part of a story he is not aware of.  But a story whose ending only he can decide. Curious, Shanay plays along and is introduced to Raisa, Nirmaan and Afsana. By the time the story comes to an end,  his life has turned upside down. Half torn hearts is a gut wrenching story about three people who experience the unbelievable highs and the unimaginable lows that one can go through only in love…  of the rarest kind.

Okay!  So now that I have completed this book in just a few hours and have bombarded my feelings while reading this book to n number of people, here's my time to articulate whatever I felt. Half torn hearts is a personal story and that reflects in the writing style of the author.  Yes, it has a very typical Novoneel Chakraborty feel but the whole book has come from a place that is deep inside the heart. Something, only his loyal readers would understand.

Having said that, the four characters spoke to me. Once I was somewhere in the middle of the book I could feel that whatever is happening in the book is happening around me for real.  I could see, feel and touch Raisa, Nirmaan and Afsana. Tushara's poems made for a great accompaniment to the book and I'm so happy the author put a step forward and turned his poem writing skills to good use. All the characters had a graph of growth and it was well visible. As far as I am concerned, nope. I don't have a favorite character either. I rooted for all the three characters and their perspectives. But well,  I have my reasons to dislike Afsana a wee bit at times.

Coming to the story and the narration skills.  A love story coming from his fan induced title of being the Sidney Sheldon of India, can be a shocker for a lot of people. But,  if we closely follow Chakraborty and his works, a love story is something that he has to write. The narrative was smooth, engaging and entertaining. The tagline of the book,  Have you destroyed yourself for someone? Makes the book all the more appealing. The story was in a way simple. Where in a lot of places you could know what would happen in the future course of the book, a lot of places come unprepared. Do we really have it in ourselves to judge the story of an autobiographical work? I don't think I have. Wrapped in the simplicity yet competition of the game stone, papers and scissors played in childhood, the book is just that for Raisa, Nirmaan and Afsana.

The cons of the book, as usual were very few.  Barring a few typos that are blink and miss. I was expecting a more fast paced book which would be his usual edge of the seat one but the fact that I cried at a few places and smiled while the book ended mars all the criticism that I've put forward. I am not going to rate the book this time for I'll leave it to you to judge the book and rate it for me.

To end it, Don't you think love is freedom?

“Zamaane se chupke,
Ek band kamre mein,
Parde kheech ke,
Bistar pe beeche chadar ko kuchalke,
Ishq nahi hota.
Ishq,  khule mein hota hai… “