Book title: False Ceilings
Author: Amit Sharma
No. of pages: 256
Price: Rs. 295
Publisher: LiFi Publications
Book blurb: Born in the lush mountains of Dalhousie in 1930, Shakuntala is a pampered child of a wealthy builder. On her wedding night she is gifted a secret to use wisely when the time comes.
From the green valleys of Dalhousie to a village in Punjab reeling under the communal violence of 1947; from the Delhi of 1950s with its intoxicating smell of freedom to the Delhi of 1970s soaked in the hippie culture; from the Delhi of 1984 smelling of burnt tyres to the Delhi of 90s raising its Frankenstein of urbanization, the cancerous secret breathes with her, infects her. It is accidentally passed down, hidden under insecurities and jealousies, locked in its meaninglessness and leaving a trail of ruin.
When her great- grandson accidentally discovers the secret in 2065, he is perplexed by the malice that flowed in his family's blood. Was it just the secret or his family would have destroyed itself even in its absence? Why was their love never greater than their unsaid expectations from each other?
The entire plot is spanned over generations and decades of changing times, circumstances and lifestyles. The author has managed to handle the time span with a non-linear style of narration which adds a touch of deliberate confusion and intrigue. As you come across more and more characters as you read the book, you understand the risk the writer has taken in juggling do many of them. For a first time writer, I must say that Amit Sharma has performed the feat well. The blurb and the initial chapters build up the required curiosity for a reader to move forward in anticipation of the revelation of the mystery. It gives you a feeling of sitting in a time capsule and travelling between the past and the future. The ride gets a little bumpy in between when the transition is not as smooth as it should be, but overall it is a nice ride nevertheless.
What I loved the most
I loved the non-linear narration and the research that the author has done to make the events look credible. Hard work and dedication show. Good attempt by a new author!
What felt not-so-good
The transition between time frames is not smooth at a few places. Typos could have been avoided with better editing. The curiosity that is built up by the blurb and the beginning of the book is not satiated by the revelation of the mystery which is not as grand as you expect it to be.
The final verdict
I received a free copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review but I am glad I read the book. I shall look forward to Amit Sharma's next work as his writing shows a promise of growth.
Amit Sharma, M.Tech in Computer Science, is working as a Software Engineer in Tata Consultancy Services(TCS). His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with a two year old daughter. This is Amit Sharma's first book as an author.