Book Review on Niharika Sah’s Closure by Shreya Mondal

Memory is to mind the soul is to the body; they nurture all possibilities to grow but linger once they perish. This captivating thought grips the theme of the book titled Closure by Niharika Sah. She is a young, free-spirited and an upcoming writer, who chose unrequited love as the theme of her first fiction novel. You must be thinking that this is a topic too often talked about and hyped, why would I read it. But, hold on! as choices that oppose the pre-conceived notions of “moving on” is sure to keep you engaged, which this review will further shed light upon. Yes, the world chants a tone very different from what this book narrates through its unabashed rendition of one of those stories that are often buried in the prison of the human heart. The truth that such prisoned unacceptable realities are made to seem natural for the sake of survival is its inherent flaw, I believe, and sadly seldom can anyone escape it.

A novel, as we know, always a protagonist to pull the plot together and give us an experience beyond what’s known. However, Closure’s narrator remains nameless till the end and provokes the silent guardian, who protects the else than own, within the readers. She is a narrator groomed by the rebel in her, a lover freed from stereotypes, a keeper of innocent promises and a winner in the battle of Cupid’s paradise. Life hurls both roses and thorns at us; it is our choices at every turn that contribute to shaping the person we are at present. The author employs personification as a strong motif throughout to explore the deep, dark and unanswered associations in life. “Moving on is a choice, not a mandate,” as the blurb of the book begins with the message that has been conveyed in this unconventional take on love.

The narrator’s memory of her lost lover, Chahat, keeps her swinging back and forth, strengthening her mundane endeavours for survival. The theme ‘hopeless romantic’ strengthens Ruh’s character, which never gives in to reality. Ruh and Chahat live the brief years of their affectionate affair until she learns about the harsh reality awaiting to destroy her hopelessness. Despite the physical and emotional tensions between the lead protagonists, the shadow of reality wins the battle eventually. The way she gathers herself and overcomes her own heart’s prison is mesmerising to read. I am sure anyone would feel the urge to turn through the poetic narrative of such moments over and over again. Nothing in life keeps passing but settling somewhere in our psychosis, which the mortal world has so firmly taught us all to do. The power of words is yet another beautiful rendition that haunts the narrator as a welcoming gift of parting. The strength to bear the burden of choices without being dictated teaches us a lot about self-worth and self-love. “Without reason is reason enough,” as the author believes, for a person to cherish the fragile making of its individuality.

Closure gives an outlet for souls lingering on the hope of being alive in the lives of those that matter. Anger, resentment, miscommunication and ignorance are a matter of pride for the author it seems, as has been equivocally conveyed through the nameless narrator. What is human if not a disarranged bundle of these conflicting emotions. I have often heard people saying that one should let go if someone is not meant to be yours, and then I came across this young writer, who showed me that letting go is not a simple checkbox and life run not by a manual. After witnessing her beloved’s wedding, the narrator grieves in silence for a while and soon gathers all her strength to live an honourable life in her own eyes. She rises at her own pace and uses her pent up emotions as the pen to recreate her life’s purpose by becoming a successful person. The story, at this juncture, attempts to explore the human bonding and worldly ways, unaware that its tenure is brief. Unrequited might hurt like a terminal illness but its cure cannot always be relying on a new love. What love would it really be if it is so fickle? The author, therefore, wants to spread the message of respecting love for what it is without a question.

Unlike most romance novels, this book oozes a unique visual appeal through illustrated verses in one of its chapters. They are beautiful and honest about the theme. The writing may seem slightly difficult for non-avid readers but it is a commendable attempt by the author considering the fact that it is her first fiction novels. Nature and surroundings also play a vital role in uplifting and draining not just the mood swings but also the struggle faced by Ruh. The concluding chapter where tragedy befalls upon the narrator makes it worth the journey. Honourable mention of her name through and as part of innocent life was all she had been living for all along. The prologue and epilogue are apt in all possible aspects as its coherent insights without losing the touch from reality. Underlying strains of Chahat’s attachment also surfaces in a delicate way as if it has been intentionally curated to inflict less harm to his existence. In one of the social media posts, the author had posted a photo quote that says, “What is fiction if not reality’s mirror image. And what is reality if not an imitation of fiction.” Personally, this makes my meticulousness question whether this fiction novel is really a fiction or a reality buried in traces. The artfulness with which impulses develop patience, hurt evolves purpose, and emptiness shapes completeness in this cautiously cultivated fiction Closure generates a distinctive space of its own amidst all counterparts, welcoming and expanding on varied readership across the popular domain of books.

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