I first came to know about the Book through a friend of mine who is a readomania.com regular. The first thing that caught my attention was the description ‘India’s first composite novel’. It was out of sheer curiosity I bought the book on kindle. I was hooked from the moment the first lines hit my eyes. Extremely effectively edited by Sutapa Basu, the book takes you on a voyage like never before. The brilliance of fourteen writers add to the mixed flavours of the book.
Fourteen short stories weaved into one book, each story is standalone yet connects you to the main storyline. When I was through with the first couple of stories I was confused, I had no idea where this book was taking me, I was lost yet I had a strange sense of belonging. Like a jigsaw slowly the pieces fell into its own designated place. So when I hit the last page I was like a child, intensely happy that the entire thing had worked out and turned out exquisitely. I was immersed into the world of numerous characters, multiple stories, several plots and sub-plots. This book is a feast for the bibliophiles. Fourteen different worlds blended into one. It could have been a mess, BUT it’s NOT. Thanks to the superlative editing by Sutapa Basu.
It is one of the most brilliant, bravest attempts of our times.
Now let’s go through the book story by story.
A Curious Dalliance By Sutapa Basu
The book opens with this story and swiftly takes you deep down into the world of Sudip and Megha. How they fell in love and the normal twists and turns of any married couple’s life and what happens when love turns sour. The essence of the story is Basu’s structure of the plot. It has many layers within itself and by the end of the story it leaves you wanting for more.
The Diary of Joseph Varughese by Ayan Pal
This story takes you along with the life of Shivi and a diary she discovers on her trip to College Street, Kolkata. The story is gripping and takes the reader back and forth into lives of Shivi, James, Lily and Joseph. Pal’s command over language is superb and he makes his story stand out amongst many gems.
The Web of Life By Sanchita Sen Das
Sen Das’s story is of Siya’s life as she balances marriage, love, work and motherhood. The end of the chapter is the master stroke of this beautifully penned story. Sen Das does a wonderful job of knitting in the plot with the few stories to follow. Her language is expressive, her treatment of the plot is sensitive and smart.
The Real Fiction of Illiana Braun by Arvind Passey
Illiana and Varu’s story gets a remarkable treatment at the hands of Passey. It gets darker as we turn the pages and go deeper into the story, it also gives us the missing link to a story before. The use of Fate into the story is impressive and very well woven. Passey does an admirable job at bringing in cross cultural elements and blending it perfectly with the story.
A Burning Candle by Mithun Mukherjee
Mukherjee has a flair of storytelling, his words are gripping, and his style poignant. The plot is superb and dealt with precision. This one is a particular favorite of mine. I had Goosebumps by the time I had reached the end of this story. The story follows Catherine and Illiana through their friendship during their days in Kochi.
Relics to Ruins by Avanti Sopory
Catherine’s journey from Delhi to Afghanistan is the main theme of the story interspersed with multiple characters and many shades of emotions. Sopory deals with every single stroke like a master. She uses her pen well to describe Afghanistan and its situation. Her capability to keep you hooked to the story is remarkable.
Leap of Faith by Bhaswar Mukherjee
Leap of faith is again another beautiful story, it restores your own faith in humanity. It carries on the story from the last chapter and presents another alcove. It is tightly knit, well-crafted and delicately dealt by Mukherjee. Farhaan and Rukhsana remain in your heart for long.
Reclaiming Life by Anupama Jain
The story is inspirational, it takes you through the route of how Poorni reclaims her life. Jain has made a simple story into a magnificently fashioned tale of discovering oneself. Her use of language is impeccable and has an invigorating touch.
The Dragon Lady by Deepti Menon
The sharp witty tale of Kamala Devi is brilliantly told by Menon. Her language is immaculate, her transfer of simple daily family occurrences in to a witty tale is commendable, her eloquence is praiseworthy. This story is funny and refreshing, it brings in the necessary relief needed by the readers amidst few heavy duty stories.
For a Speck of a Moment by Amrit Sinha
Sinha tells the story with a heart, his narrative follows the life of Binoy and later Binita. Benoy’s struggles as he tries to make his own life in Mumbai. The bitter twist at the end wrenches the heart strings for the protagonist of that particular story.
To Ma & Pa, Con Amore! By Monika Nair
The story of Monalisa and Binoy, the first meeting, the love, the struggles, the ending all fall into place like a good old movie. The style of the narrative is pleasing and makes for a good read. It also connects couple more characters from the previous stories. Nair does a good job in creating a standalone love story, which is neatly tucked into the main bone of the book.
Look Beyond by Amar Lakshya Pawar
Aditya and his fateful journey makes you wonder what game fate has reserved for us all. Pawar is at ease with the plot and language, the reader is given a header to an important character which is introduced afterwards.
Dawn at Dusk by Bhuvaneshwari Shankar
Shankar interlaces a simple story of love into the emotional story of a single mother, a lonely widower and their respective families. Her words flow like a cascading river taking the reader into a splendid journey of life. Here we meet Sudip again and his love interest Meena, this story gives the reader a feeling, a sense of an ending looming near.
The Last Act by Arpita Banerjee
The last act does justice to the entire tapestry of stories and giving some loose ends a good tuck in. Banerjee writes eloquently and her attempt at bringing in the final stroke is exemplary.
My personal favorites are The Dragon Lady/ The Burning Candle/ A Curious Dalliance/ Dawn at Dusk in no particular order.
Couple of stories don’t blend in easily with the rest of the book, but that is understandable as it is a mammoth task to get fourteen minds to think like one. I can also point out a few errors in tenses or use of language, but it is not necessary. The essence of the entire book is so powerfully innovative, one is willing to look beyond the small errors. Nothing is perfect, neither are you nor am I. The imperfections make it more real, more believable. One can easily tell the journey into making this book was not easy, the hard work put behind this unique venture is visible in every page you turn. Crossed and Knotted is a Brilliant, Sincere, One of a Kind Book and I’ll recommend it to all.
My Rating: 4.5/5
You may also follow the link given below to buy a copy of Crossed and Knotted.
GO. BUY. READ. NOW!!!!!