8 November 2017

Review #647: A Hundred Little Flames by Preeti Shenoy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“To the loyal and to the blood-lovers, in the good families and in the fiery dynasties, life is family and family is life. It is the same people who give advice and their vices to live well who turn out to be the ones who give resource and reason to live long.”

----Criss Jami

Preeti Shenoy, an Indian bestselling, pens a heart warming family drama in her new book called, A Hundred Little Flames that centers around the bond of friendship between a young man, who has recently lost his job in the city, and his aging yet humble grandfather, living in his ancestral home in a small village in Kerala. When the paths of the two collide through trust, love, and through a beautiful story, of two friends whose fates never let them to tie the knot in a holy matrimony, the young man and the grandfather learn a lot about life from one another and also learn to live for themselves.


Sometimes, a journey back is a step forward.

When 26-year-old Ayan is sent to live with his grumpy old grandfather Gopal Shanker, in a tiny village, in Kerala, he is understandably devastated. What can a sleepy, idyllic village without even Internet connectivity offer a young man?

To make matters worse, Jairaj, Ayan’s domineering father has his own plans and is determined to have his way. Soon, Ayan has to come to terms with the hard realities of life and the blindness of greed as he and Gopal Shanker learn that life can sometimes unravel in unanticipated ways.

A young man, whose life lies ahead of him. An old man, whose life is all in the past. And a few months that change everything. A Hundred Little Flames is a charming account of a relationship across generations and also a meditative look at the issues of old people.

Preeti Shenoy’s foray into new fictional terrain is an absolute triumph!

Ayan, a young man, loses his job after a success party fiasco, and retreats back to his ancestral hometown in Kerala where his aging grandfather lives in his large mansion. For ages, Gopal Shankar, the grandfather, has done his duties towards his family contently and responsibly yet he never found any love or respect from his children or from his deceased wife. But after Ayan's arrival and owing to his curious and understand heart and mind, Gopal Shankar can finally open the box of happy memories that he buried deep into the folds of his hearts. Ayan too immediately can see the truth behind his grandfather's healthy mental condition that his father and his aunt have tried to make it look unstable and crazy for their own benefits. But when his grandfather is forcibly admitted to a mental asylum by Ayan's father, Gopal Shankar realizes that it is time to let Ayan walk down the memory lanes of his past life because only then he can be saved. And gradually both Ayan and Gopal Shankar's lives change for the good.

This isn't the first time that I read a book by this author. Previously, I've read two books by the author and have found them to be okay and kinda cliched. But boy, oh boy, A Hundred Little Flames simply changed my perspective about the author completely changed and her foray into the world of family drama and literary fiction is simply brilliant. Stories should be something like that can make you feel or make you relate with the events, and Shenoy's new book does that successfully. Not only it moved me thoroughly but also enlightened my mind and soul about life and its realities, how to stand up for oneself, and how to live for love.

The author's writing style is exquisitely and is laced with enough emotions to move the readers deeply all through out. The narrative is engaging, articulate and evocative that will make the readers relate to the lot easily. Not only that, the dialogues are often laced with local dialect with their English translation right at the bottom of the page, keeping in mind of the readers' ease in reading the story. The flawless prose and the fast and gripping pace, only makes the book one hell of a page-turning read for one and all.

The story will teach the readers a strong lesson about the importance of family, especially the importance of the older family member whom the children or the grandchildren often neglect. From Gopal Shankar's life, Ayan learnt about the importance of love, respect, responsibility and embracing challenges and withstanding them courageously and like a rock. A must read book for one & all.

The characters are penned and developed with realism and honesty, thereby making them look believable in the yes of the readers. I bet many modern, young readers can relate to the journey of Ayan, who has forever danced to the tunes of his father, and older people can relate to the life of Gopal Shankar and how he has forever been misunderstood and neglected by his children. Ayan's curious soul and his grandfather's humble nature will strike the minds of the readers and these two characters, besides many other well-developed and interesting supporting characters, are bound to leave an impression in the minds of the readers long after the story has ended.

In a nutshell, this compelling, poignant and often heart breaking story about a regular Indian family will arrest and intrigue the souls and minds of all the readers.

Verdict: Definitely a must-read book and a sure shot bestseller!

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review an early copy of the book.

Author Info:
Preeti Shenoy, among the top five highest selling authors in India (Source: Nielsen scan) is also on the Forbes longlist of the most influential celebrities in India. She is the highest selling woman writer in India.
India Today has named her as being unique for being the only woman in the best-selling league. Her second book ‘Life is what you make it ‘continues to top the best-selling charts and has been translated to several languages including Turkish . Her third ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ made it to the top five best-selling Indian fiction of 2012. Her fourth, ‘The Secret wish list’ was among the top ten fiction of 2013. Her fifth, ‘The One You Cannot Have’ debuted at No.2 on the Nielsen list. The sixth ‘It happens for a Reason’ was out in December 2014 and has been on the Nielsen top ten, every week, since it’s release.Her seventh book ‘Why We love The Way We Do’ was among the top five best selling non-fiction books of 2015.
She has been awarded the Academia award for Business Excellence by the New Delhi Institute of Management, which is given to distinguished professionals for innovative best practices for their contribution to their field that adds to India’s International and national reputation.
She has also given several talks in many educational institutions such as IITs and IIMs and many corporate organisations like KPMG, Infosys and Accenture. She is also an artist specialising in portraiture.
She has a very popular blog and she also writes a weekly column in The Financial Chronicle. She had a huge online following and is very active on the social media. Her other interests are travel, photography and Ashtanga yoga.
Visit her here

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