The Nine-Chambered Heart – Book Review

  • Author: Janice Pariat
  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction
  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate India; 1 edition (25 November 2017)
  • Language: English

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‘You, though, are as beautiful as the light splitting through the glass.’ Nine characters recall their relationship with a young woman – the same woman – whom they have loved, or who have loved them. We piece her together, much as we do with others in our lives, in incomplete but illuminating slivers. Set in familiar, nameless cities, moving between east and west, The Nine-Chambered Heart is a compendium of shifting perspectives that follow one woman’s life, making her dazzlingly real in one moment, and obscuring her in the very next. Janice Pariat’s exquisitely written new novel is about the fragile, fragmented nature of identity – how others see us only in bits and pieces, and how sometimes we tend to become what others perceive us to be.

My Review

It’s easy to love.

Poetic, aesthetic, delightful, breezy, deep, satisfying, amazing, beautiful! – I suppose I would not be able to contain The Nine Chambered Heart in words completely and properly. It is too much at the surface and too much in the depths, the depths I could not fathom, the love I could never understand fully, the soul I am still trying to relate to.

A vague character of a young woman who is loved by nine different people in nine different ways is the premise of this book. It has flaws, imperceptible ones, and love, that is quick and way too breezy. And amidst the cracks and crevices, you feel the reality striking you hard, you feel yourself drowning in the abyss of wilderness and at times, nothingness.

Janice draws realistic characters and brings out of them the very real human eccentricities. She doesn’t miss the point of delving into their skin and portray their storytelling in the best possible manner. I felt the narrators conversing to me in a fashion I love the most. There are no bridges and boundaries but a free-flowing river of communication that drenches the reader and soothes them. Each one of them looks at our protagonist in a distinct way. Each weaves a different story around her. Each makes a unique relationship with the heart seeking love. And in the mid of all the people touching her lives or the lives she touched, she found a lifetime of love that lasted for a mere 5 days. And that’s where I understand, How content we are to grasp at so little.

Our protagonist loves art. She finds it the most comforting thing. In the ways she dresses and goes on to collect strange articles, we could connect to her love for aesthetics. In her stubbornness to not settle for just ‘anything’, we could feel her love for freedom caressing our helplessness. She is fire and free, we are ashes in the cage! For the first time, I liked the intimacy drawn in a book so vividly and beautifully. I loved the layers of love and layers of humans brought out with a lucid wring style. I liked the flow, the softness of the light glinting at the edges of our faces and the perpetual sauntering of our wanderlust souls. Love is not absolute, it is not for the one yet it stays the best with the ONE. And guess what, it is easy to be in love. We ought to love freely and not make it complex.

“Perhaps it’s the only way to retain it. Love. To never have it happen. To love otherwise is always to lose.” 

At last, this book would stay in my heart forever for it gave me a new perspective. I am an avid lover of reality and mystic writing and so, this book has all the right to be in my heart. With a delightful cover and a stunning title, this work of art is MESMERIZING!

Art comes to us proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to our moments as they pass.


MY RATING: 5/ 5


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