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Sunday, September 16, 2012

"The Stopover" - A Review


As most people reading this must already know, we are publishing a book soon, a set of anthology – created by members and writers of The journey of creating a book, I discovered is cluttered with obstacles small and big. Even so for a first time publisher! But with an iron will we continue and defeat everything that comes on our way!

In the middle of such a battle on a hectic day last week a mail dropped into my inbox. The signature below said Deepa Rachel Pinto and she introduced me to a project that she herself has been involved in - a creation of a novel form in books. They are going to call it “The Stopover” she wrote and described it as “a first-of-its-kind Photo Fiction”. As soon as I showed my keenness in getting a sneak peek, another mail followed promptly comprising a part from the book for me to review. Below are my thoughts on the same.

I think, it would be fair to say, calling it a “photo-fiction” would be under-estimating its’ potential. It is much more than just those two words. It captures your mind in three dimensions. It’s a story (“a blend of fiction and fact”) said in the course of a travelogue with captivating pictures of the journey that the protagonist makes. Neither would it be too far-fetched to say the style reminds one of Shakespeare’s “story within a story”. Only in this case there are several plots built in.

The part of the book that was shared with me is about heart-broken Varun who travels to Leh, for that much needed break after a storm has passed his life and left him in tatters! The writer takes the reader through his journey in simple English. We slowly unscramble Varun’s angst, his confusion and pain while we explore parts of Leh that he treads on. Through him we learn not only that this place exists but a whole deal more like its history, the topography, the culture there, the locals, the schools and much more.

The photographs that run along the narrative are most captivating. And even though I am pretty familiar with the history of Tibetans; the creation of Leh; The Dalai Lama; and the politics behind it all, “The Stopover” did explore unfamiliar grounds for me. The reader learns through the mind of Varun and sees through his eyes. To that extent at times he/she is made to play the role of the protagonist himself. The conversational mode of writing makes it a fast paced reading yet at times just admiring the pictures and imagining the scenes told in the book makes one linger.

Overall I think the book will surely open a brand new concept of narration that will open new paths for publishers and writers alike. It is not without reason that “The Stopover” Facebook page has a following of 55,000+ even before it has been published. I am inspired by these guys and this has been a sign for me to tread along with all that I have planned for my book!