Sunday, 24 July 2016

Book Review - The First Storyteller

Author – Varun Gwalani
Publisher – Frog Books
Pages – 208
Price -  Rs. 225

First Impressions

The Skiros immediately attracted my attention. Was it a symbol standing pretty in the middle of a forest? Or a gateway to a mystical world? I didn't know. I kept looking at it for several minutes, playing my little guessing game. There was something mysterious about it, something magical that I had to find out. I jumped in to know about the magical world of the first storyteller.

My View
I don't know if I should be calling this a book review. For it's hard to do justice to this amazing display of creativity by Varun Gwalani. I hadn't read his first book. However, looking at the blurb, a part of me could relate to the protagonist and I immediately wanted to read more. 

Still wanna get an idea about the plot? Well, this is the story of a storyteller (no, we don't know his name). Living in a coastal village, all he had was the power of his stories which only his mentor, the old storyteller understood. After his mentor's demise, he began to feel a vacuum inside, for he was living in a world which didn't embrace his ideas. The storyteller had thoughts free like a bird, vast as a sky and fresh as the rain. However, the people around him loved to lead their lives the same way, day after day. They had rules that nobody challenged and monotony was glorified in the name of consistency. It is not a surprise then that the storyteller stood in the village as an odd one out, and was often mocked at for his silly, insane thoughts. 

When the river flows against us, we have two options - either to surrender and go with the flow, or to fight our way up. His ideas were succumbing to the disrespect of the people around him. He had no new stories to tell. Not willing to give in to those who never understood him, the storyteller decided it was time to ditch the people who only gave him hatred. Thus began his journey through the Skiro into the mystical forest, a journey to discover life, discover himself. He knew he might never come back. But at least it was better than not trying at all.

More than being an escape from people and places, it was an escape from the mental block that attack most creative people. Just like the journey of life, the forest too gave him an easy option to give up and settle for less. But, in his battle with the demons of his mind, the storyteller had to risk and strive for what he set out for.

The journey that transforms and rejuvenates him also brings him face to face with his fears, apprehensions and mental block. Whether the storyteller overcame these and how, and whether he was able to return from the forest is for the readers to find out.

As I delved deep into the story, I realised this is not just the story of the story teller. This is the story of each one of us, for we all might have felt stuck in the "status quo" at some point in our lives. Like the storyteller, we too are travellers in the forest of life, embarking upon our specific journeys. While giving up is the easiest option, we have to keep moving ahead, for only then can we overcome the roadblocks. We too, like the storyteller encounter demons of our fears, the fairies of emotions, distractions that try to entangle and hold us. However, faith, confidence and focus can have us carve out our path in this forest. Once the distractions are fought over, the mind is cleansed, confident and open for seeds of fresh thoughts to be planted.

The book is like a painting, each person will relate to something and will have a different takeaway from the other one. However, it is a one of its kind story that you don't get to read everyday. So, grab the book and discover your own path!

Thumbs Up
  • Unique and powerful narration
  • A story everyone can relate to, something tough to achieve in fiction
  • The story maintains its grip on the reader right till the last page

But then, Umm...
Few editorial errors and misprints could have been avoided. 
The story takes time to build up the momentum and requires attention, so someone looking for a light read fiction may not be the target reader.

My Rating

I got the book for an honest review from LeadStart Publishing

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