Author : Sid Bihari
Publisher : Srishti
Not all love stories are perfect, but then neither are people.
The book encapsulates the above quote completely and build the premise around it. For obvious reasons, the title of the book give away the ending of the novel which is almost a crime to do in a literary fiction. Still, there is an utmost sincerity attached to the narrative that even though my mind wandered around abundant logical loopholes and grossly over written lines, i was hooked by the characters and their tribulations.
In the middle of recession, Aditya meets a woman in the bar and his life changes instantly by the lure of a profession he never thought he would get into in his dreams. Radhika, a young widow and ex-lover of Aditya marries off her stepdaughter, little she knows her newly found freedom will never be the same she had envisoned ever.
The author decides to tell the story from the point of view of two narrators - Aditya and Radhika, with alternating chapters devoted to each of them. This unique narrative device does help in creating two flesh and blood characters and follow their lives over three decades. But what it also does is create flabby chapters with repetitions of the same thoughts or a plot point told from both characters point of view. This in turn, make the book long, and require some deft editing. It also meant that there are multiple plot points inserted which has little to do with the story and should have been cut it out in the first place (Aditya's friend turning to his own profession, for instance)
However, the expressions and emotions are something which we can all relate to and even though their problems are not out of this world, it is the simplicity with which things unfold keeps you hooked. It drive home the point that relationships can never be perfect since the drivers of those relationships are not perfect themselves and striving for that elusiveness will only take you away.
I am going with 3/5 for Sid Bihari's debut novel, 'The Homing Pigeons'. It is well crafted story which employs unique narrative device to tell the tale of its two characters. You just wished it to be lot shorter to have more impact as a reader. And yes, this is a mark departure for a publishing house towards quality writing who was once known to dish you mass fiction writers and books one after the another. Give it a chance, you won't be entirely disappointed.
[This book review is done on request of Srishti Publishers & Distributors]