It isn’t everyday that I get a text or phone call with news about an amazing book discovery. It isn’t often either than a seemingly over-hyped book winds up as good as – if not better than – the reviews it was given by the said texter or caller.
A couple of weeks back, I met Meaghan Delahunt. Not in person, but in one of the best pieces of Western literature that I have held in my hands since… Well, I can’t even recall!
I like books that focus on more than a simple tale of love between two people. I like a story whose threads are not immensely predictable, too soaked in fantasy, too dark or raunchy. I thoroughly enjoy a real story that I can relate to and whose words leave my ears filled with sounds and my eyes the colours that make up the images of lives and feeling. However, I am also not opposed to a story that makes me not just think about my life, the things that I am struggling with or running from, my greatest pains and fears. Neither am I opposed to experiencing stimuli differently; hearing colour and seeing sounds.
Francoise bears the all-too-common scars of unfortunate childhood memories and feelings that take every woman back to growing up and how we relate with our mothers. Politely put, she depicts the typical struggles of any daughter I know with her mother as she grows out of childhood and into womanhood. Sometimes the scars and experiences of faraway haunt us for longer than is necessary. Sometimes we ought to say what we feel and stick by it. Sometimes being different or special is an encounter on its own that doesn’t really have to be classed as either good or bad, but which should not be altogether ignored either.
Arkay is as human as we come. He upsets you with all his excuses and the mess he leaves behind with a habit he cannot afford to keep up with. Somewhere between the chase and running from his weakness, he finds a way. Then he loses it and finds it again. The cycle is exhausting to watch, the excuses tired and similar. But one thing remains: it is a little too familiar also. I think I like this man because he is seemingly weaker than I think I am? Maybe that is why I like him so; because he poses no real threat and therefore lacks in worthy competition.
Naga is another man who wakes up in a battlefield each day. His struggles, however, are from within. In spite of the disciplined life he leads, the meditations he is accustomed to, the calm and reflective lifestyle he has immersed himself in; in spite of the perfect scenery for quiet peace and the life he has chosen, Naga has a raging war within himself that he needs to put to rest.
There goes your spoiler. If you feel up to the introspective challenge and spiritual journey behind a wonderfully threaded tale of humanity, look for The Red Book by Meaghan Delahunt. You will likely live to share the awakening with someone.