Do acquaint yourself with the young mint fresh author: Abiral.
I was curious about the unusual sounding name and was told that it meant "continuous" - as in "aviral dhara". And that it should have been A"v"iral (instead of A"b"iral) - but the regional influence made its presence felt. Being from the east myself, I immediately understood that bit, since we say: "abiral dhara" - for something that flows continuously, perpetually or perennially.
Now for my verdict: This is not a run-of-the-mill story and stands out among the deluge of dreck camouflaged as bestsellers - in our bookstores these days … and is light on the wallet too. Debutant author Abiral Kumar has impressed with his maiden offering and will certainly be someone to watch out for in the future.
The storyline: The Lost Pearl of Paradise: In Search of a Fairy is a story set in modern times, about something that's so much older.
Set deep in the forests of Brahmaputra, this is a story of fate, of fortune, of sacrifice, of friendship, of duty, of rage and resistance, of transformation, of courage and steadfastness; and of relationship in all its myriad shades.
It is an unusual - a hatke - tale woven with abuse, lies, compassion, tenderness, history, trickery, deception and mayhem … but is ultimately a tale of hope and survival.
A story of men and women - transcending great odds. A story of a boy and a girl - overcoming great barriers - of time, of space and geography, in some of the most interesting, enchanting … yet treacherous terrains on earth - where peace jostles with turmoil and violence fights hope and redemption.
It is full of everything; greed, love, innocence, mystery, apathy, horror, grief, et al … are in abundance on the grounds surrounding the mighty and holy Brahmaputra, and so are magic, honour, destiny and romance. And the story plays out, tying in a romantic love story in a most unique way.
But can the past save the future?
The Book Blurb: What if the religious vision of evolution of humans was not entirely true? What if the holy books, prophets and the historians neglected one small detail that is bound to prove costly?
A fragment of the most ancient civilization, surviving till date, is brutally slaughtered in the forests of Brahmaputra. Everyone is dead except for a sixteen-year-old girl who has to drink her own blood to survive. The clues left behind by her father lead her to the mountains where she was born – only to discover that her quest has just begun.
An ancient prophecy foretold of a girl, named Pari, who is destined to bring forth a goddess. Destined to lead the most ancient civilization lost in oblivion towards a new dawn.
Destined to be sacrificed…
All goes as foretold, until she meets Abiel, a small insignificant boy, a negligible dent in her destiny..that is bound to change everything!
The future of the human civilization depends vastly on its past..and the war is on the verge of happening…
The plot: The prodigal son returns … but is it for good? Why does he want the pearl then?
Two feuding brothers - handsome but no longer young: each with a mission of his own. What is it and who wins?
Two children – innocent and pristine – meet and then part. Will their paths cross again?
A young girl - not yet out of her teens. But why is she looking for the pearl too?
An idealistic young man, son of a powerful minister, answers the call of the mountains and becomes a wanderer, shunning his destiny as his father's heir. Why is he searching for a fairy?
What makes him, a non-violent man, handsome and in the bloom of his youth, risk his all?
And will he find his fairy?
Well, don't expect me to play the spoiler. I will not reveal any more than I have already done. So if you want to know more, get hold of the book and read all you can.
Each character is a mere pawn in this bizarre game of life and death, of power and pelf, of past and future … and each with a story to tell. Or hide.
My two pence: Abiral has a way with words and is quite the storyteller. Frankly I am marveling at his caliber and also doffing my hat - at his amazing imagination. To conceive of such a fantastic plot and then weaving it in words - verse and prose - is no mean feat, even for a seasoned author. What to say of someone who was merely 15-years young!
The book jacket cover is also quite well done. And though the book blurb does give away some clues about the story resting within its pages, it still manages to withhold most of it.
The few typos could and should have been easily pruned out.
However, some sharp editing - to tighten up the plot - would have been welcome. The encounters, the conversations (especially between Pari and Abiel), the character developments - all could have been a bit more compact - in order to maintain the pace and subtlety, while guarding against some events and characters getting too predictable or over done.
The conversation bits should have come out separately, instead of being lumped together in paragraphs. Also some rearranging of the chapters/narrative would make for a smoother flow of the plot/storyline.
And I wish some more thought had been given to the choice of the titles - of each chapter. Frankly, there is great scope for innovativeness here - something Abiral is quite capable of doing justice to. The existing titles sort of rob off the charm and suspense of the following pages, somewhat diluting the interest, and given the nature of the book - that is simply not done.
All those sub-titles in caps … need to go. Time to put on the proverbial thinking cap.
This brings me to the book blurb. Umm, time to reach for the metaphorical screwdriver here as well, and a few turns of it and I firmly believe it will reveal only what it should and whet the readers appetite.
Abiral has chosen to take the road less traveled vis-à-vis the spate of new authors who have presented themselves for us to sink our teeth into. The story at the heart of this novel is most fascinating. And given the kind of events woven into the narrative: taut drama, twists, suspense, conflicts, mystery, romance, surprise elements, a few heart tugging moments, the works … the pruning off of the deadwood - would only ensure that it continues to retain its charm till the last page has been turned, instead of having its pace and flavour interfered with.
But all said and done, this is the work of a 15-year-old schoolboy. A very promising budding author at that … whose perspective, writing style and imagination will bowl you over.
The story resting within the pages of this book is fresh and there isn't any sense of déjà vu, meaning one does not get the feeling of plodding through rehashed stuff. You know, old wine in new bottle and all that.
My rating: I'm going with a 3.5/5 - for Abiral's maiden offering: amazing concept backed by a limpid writing style. He is one author whose literary progress I'll watch with interest. I now look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy, and am quite sure that their narrative will sweep me up in its fold and keep me there.
In Ruskin's writings we come across "Pari Tibba" quite often. Hopefully someday we'll get acquainted with "Ganji Pahadi" - through Abiral's prolific pen - when the pen is not busy writing some or the other eggjam paper that is!
Details of the book: The Lost Pearl of Paradise: In Search of a Fairy/ Author: Abiral/ Publisher: Frog Books [An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd]/ Publishing Date: 2012/ ISBN-10: 9381576687/ ISBN-13: 9789381576687, 978-93-81576-68-7 / Pages: 273/ Price: Rs.195, US $8 [Rs. 184 on Flipkart].
Photograph: The book jacket cover of The Lost Pearl of Paradise: In Search of a Fairy. Picture courtesy: link.
The book can be obtained from: Flipkart
Get in touch with Abiral at: firstname.lastname@example.org