Some stories hold your attention with their fast-paced narrative, whereas others capture the senses with the musicality of their language. Mitra succeeds in bewitching the reader solely with the powerful imagery evoked by his descriptions. Every character, every situation, and every emotion is painted in detail using a wide palette of colourful language. It is hard not to form a parallel storyline in one’s head while reading the book—sort of a movie going on up there—while flipping through the chapters.
The vivid description of the preparation Anicetus goes through to get into the prestigious school that holds the promise of transforming his very life is immensely relatable. The pressure to study and secure admission to the school, egged on by his lawyer father, nearly drives Anicetus crazy.
However, securing admission isn’t the end of the torture. In fact, it’s just the beginning. It is disheartening to see the way Anicetus loses touch with his old friends because of the inhuman pressures of schoolwork and soccer practice as well as peer pressure to hang out only with “cool” people. But one mustn’t judge Anicetus harshly—he does visit the “slum” to reunite with his friend who couldn’t make it to the prestigious school.
The visit turns out to be momentous—in a different way. Anicetus meets the love of his life in the “forbidden zone”, albeit clothed in rags with free, wild hair and flashing black eyes. She’s a spunky girl who can beat him hands down at a game of soccer, something Anicetus finds hard to digest because he’s the one who got into the “cool” school after all with its champion soccer team. He’s begun to navigate the world of prom queens and entitled females at his school, but this slum girl is literally a class apart.
The setting of the story also appears to be somewhat futuristic since the protagonist cannot believe that food comes from trees instead of factories. It’s unfortunate, but full marks to the author for envisioning an all-too-real future.
This is not a quick thrilling read by any means so prepare to spend a good many hours in the company of this imagery-heavy book. I won’t give away any more of the storyline—that’s for you to discover. Mitra has poured out his innermost thoughts on various topics in the guise of a narrative, and I find that I agree with him on most fronts.
What I loved best about Mitra’s work was the vivid wordplay that gave every emotion, event, and movement a definite form. I’d say the book defies categorization, although I do have it from the author (read his author interview) that the narrative is largely autobiographical.
(This book was purchased on amazon.in and recommended by Literoma Publishing Services.)