Sunday, December 17, 2017

Book Review: Faraway Music

An engaging novel which hardly sags or ebbs. Beautiful, lyrical and warm, it makes for a perfect weekend read. 

(I met Sreemoyee Piu Kundu recently at a Women Writer's Fest organised by SheThePeople  at the Saturday Club, Kolkata. I asked her what would she recommend out of her three published works. She asked me what genre do I like and then went to to recommend this as well as Sita's Curse, an erotica. After she left for the podium for her talk, I bought Faraway Music.)

Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, an ex journalist, debuted with Faraway Music in 2013. Partly biographical, Faraway Music is the story of acclaimed writer Piya Choudhury. It meanders through the bylanes of Kolkata, soaks in the rains of Mumbai, rubs shoulders with the Dilli ki Sardi and races towards end via a posh NY penthouse before finally coming home to Kolkata. Piya tells her story to another journalist on a long flight and this play of time and action - past and present- given the novel a lovely movement.   

The writing and the story both seem quite real. A romance novel, this book, has some really sweet and some sensuous-leading-to-toe-curling moments. A journalism intern at a newspaper Piya, makes waves after she manages a great story with a recluse music director nominated for Grammy's. After tasting success here, she moves to a bigger platform where she meets and falls hard for her editor. Knowing the newspaper scenario, Kundu, uses it very well to bring an imminent twist to her plot. A major news story on drugs by Piya and her friend and another important character lurking in the book TT, is stopped by the boyfriend editor Abir after he is told off by the newspaper owners for jeopardising his relationship with the paper's biggest advertisers. She leaves him and the industry and enters PR where she meets an artist and marries him. He, David Cicconi, encourages her to find herself and looking within she finds short stories and then a novel which is met with huge success. But then as always happen, the good time gets over. She and David begin to drift apart and her mother tells her about the decision to give away their house to an NGO. This brings Piya back to Kolkata after ages. To know what happens here, you must read the book.

Kundu has given Piya strength of character as well as a fair share of weaknesses. Faraway Music is her journey of discovering herself and meeting life head on. The writing as I mentioned earlier is warm and lyrical and I did not feel like putting the book down before finishing it or passing over some passages/ pages. In fact I wished there was more here. The edit on the novell has been great, keeping it tight and well paced. Unfortunately a typo here and a typo there often are upsetting, if you too belong/ed to the edit desk but yes, in this case, can well be laid on the publisher's doorstep.

Title: Faraway Music
Author: Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
Genre: Romance
Paperback: 338 pages 
Price: Rs 299
Publisher: Hachette India
Language: English
Rating: 4/5

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