BOOK REVIEW OF- The Shadow Of Darkness
By- Priyanka Baranwal
· Paperback: 390 pages
· Publisher: Priyanka Baranwal; First edition (1 December 2017)
· Language: English
· ISBN-10: 9352888057
· ISBN-13: 978-9352888054
THE PLOT IN BRIEF-
When Maya fought two criminals one night and saved herself and her five year old daughter, Sejal, she thought the worst was over. But was it really? Or, there could be something worse than the worst? The childhood trauma that little Sejal did not deserve resulted in nightmares, trust issues and bizarre habits. Even after thirteen long years, the night continues to haunt and debilitate her senses with its magnificence, and as if it wasn’t enough, an encounter with the remains of past slips her deep into a treacherous darkness.
The title is beautifully engraved with two blooming words- “shadow” and “darkness”. Although both the words are intimately linked to each other, they are also complimentary to each another. This novel is like to love a swamp. To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water. To add more the title also brings in the concept of duality in an individuals’ life. As Hamlet said to Ophelia, ”God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” The battle between these two halves of identity…Who we are and who we pretend to be, is unwinnable. Just as there are two sides to every story, there are two sides to every person. One that we reveal to the world and another we keep hidden inside. A duality governed by the balance of light and darkness, within each of us is the capacity for both good and evil. But those who are able to blur the moral dividing line hold the true power.
I loved the title and the concept behind it.
REVIEW OF THE BOOK-
There are various aspects to look for in the book. The first one being trauma and nightmares. When you’re born a light is switched on, a light which shines up through your life. As you get older the light still reaches you, sparkling as it comes up through your memories. And if you’re lucky as you travel forward through time, you’ll bring the whole of yourself along with you, gathering your skirts and leaving nothing behind, nothing to obscure the light. But if a Bad Thing happens part of you is seared into place, and trapped for ever at that time. The rest of you moves onward, dealing with all the todays and tomorrows, but something, some part of you, is left behind. That part blocks the light, colours the rest of your life, but worse than that, it’s alive. Trapped for ever at that moment, and alone in the dark, that part of you is still alive. I really loved the way the plot slide in between the characterization of Maya and Sejal Keeping childhood and nightmares in the backdrop.
The Idea of Shadows was beautifully incorporated into the plot along with Sejal and Kartik. I guess that sometimes it just takes a long walk through the darkness, a long walk through the darkest shadows and corners of your soul to realize that those are a part of you as well, that you’ve created through your experiences and thoughts those parts within yourself and as much as you can choose to fear them and repress them, they will require your attention one day, they will need your care and acceptance before you can clean them away and turn the lights on. For you refuse to shine the light on something that is imperfect, because you fear judgement and rejection, but you can always choose to look towards the light as the only source of true beauty and love that can help you in the cleaning process. Healing, after a long time of struggle and mess is a complex process, but a necessary one nevertheless. We are so overwhelmed by the amount of work it requires that we so often choose to run away from the light, hide in our dark corner and hope that we will never be found, hope that we will never be seen, or desperately look outwards for that love and compassion that we can no longer find within ourselves, for our soul’s light no longer shines as it used to. And sometimes we just find those people that can see the light beneath all that dust and darkness that’s been pilled up, those kind of light workers that understand our broken souls and manage to pick us up and see the beauty within us, when we find it so hard to see it ourselves. Sometimes I get so tired of separation, of division, of groups and different religions and belief systems. Even if you do find the truth, once you’ve put it into words, books and rules it already becomes distorted by the mind into something that is no longer truth.
The ending was also smooth leading to a fact which I believed as Splendid. The narration of the story along with the characterisation amalgamated with the plot made me to believe that I no longer hope for understanding, no longer hope for the opinion of a judgemental mind, but I hope to find the words that touch the soul before the mind, I hope to find the touch that warms the heart from deep inside, and hope to find that far away abandoned part of me which I’ve left behind.
Overall I would like to rate the book 45 on a scale of 50.
4 stars out of 5
1. Originality of the plot and sub plots- 9/10
2. Net emotions in the story- 9/10
3. Usage of words and phrases-8/10
4. The title, cover and the illustration-10/10
5. The net impact on the readers- 9/10