Name: True Colors of Love
My rating: 6/10
Genre: Fiction, Romance
About the book: This book is written in a ‘second person narrative’ which is rarely found in fiction. Also the subject matter and thematic content is controversial. TCL is about a young man romancing and fantasizing a thirteen year old girl and recounting of his obsessions and insecurities. At another level it is also a clash between romanticism and rationalism. The hero refuses to be practical and clings to his romantic ideals and eventually at the end of the story realizes that he is an enlightened romantic.
First line: Very Often, I hear a voice inside me.
Last line: I had lost that argument.
Favorite line: If the shining sun blinds the eye, it makes sense. But to be blinded by gold and silver!
My thoughts about the book: I.R. Shankar brings to the world True Colors of Love - an interesting story of a young man in love eluded by truth. The author, for his second novel, says, “It is Shankar self-revealed! … For in my excitement to tell a story I ended up revealing myself.”
The novel starts with the writer giving freedom to the Voice, his inner voice, to speak. The voice has been kept subdued since long, but it hasn’t been dormant; it has been noticing each incident in his life. His childhood, his loneliness, his narcissism, his passions, his rebellion and his first love.
The Voice speaks to the writer, which gives the novella its second person POV(something that isn’t common these days and hence, for me, scores the brownie points.) and, of course, satire. Who in the world does not like Satire?!
The writer is an orphan. His maternal grandfather brings him to his palatial house as a young boy, much to the boy’s chagrin. He is ordered to not go for the artistic pleasures of writing and painting but the more practical ones like Math and local reasoning. He refuses. This digs the ‘gulf’ between his relatives and him much deeper. He is not ready to shun his passions for his grandfather’s whims. And he rebels.
He is made fun of by his cousin, Chris, since the first day of his stay at the house. He gets reserved and satisfies himself by observing the shallowness of the people around him.
The focus of the story changes when Rose, his distant cousin, comes to their house to stay. She is adolescent, beautiful, and loved. He is young, aesthetic, and discouraged. She is the one who makes him feel wanted. She is the one he thinks about all day.
The love story veers when the truth of their relationship unfolds. He is to abandon the family only to come back again five years later with an Engineering degree.
He has to win back his family and his love. But the ‘gulf’ not only is an invisible barrier between his family and him but the very reason for his life’s truth.
Shankar’s writing is fresh and crisp. Though there are dialogues that seem out of place, sometimes. The Grammar/Editing is one front which will not go unnoticed. The mistakes are a major distraction.
The USP of this novella is the writing style and the fact that it does not have a predictable storyline.
Would I recommend this book?
If you are a fan of fiction: you’ll certainly want to give it a read.
If you are a Grammar Nazi: the commas and the apostrophes are going to ruffle your feathers.
If you like something out-of-the-ordinary, then yes. Go for it!