- Author: Sawan Winchester
- Reading level: 2 – 8 years
- Paperback: 360 pages
- Publisher: Lit-O-Fest Ink; First edition (2019)
- Language: English
Yash is a twenty-two-year-old final year engineering student who is trying to make it as a fantasy author. He has the looks, he has the talent, he has a hot girlfriend, he has a best friend who would die for him. But he also has an abusive drunkard for a father, a mother who killed herself when he was just eight years old, and just a ton of bad luck. No matter what he does, no matter how much he tries, Yash just can’t catch a break.
But then, enters Joi Augustin- God’s perfect-fucking-creation! She is a free-spirited freelance literary agent who takes a shine to Yash’s work. Though they try to keep their relationship plutonic, their Chemistry is electric and eventually, they end up together. All should have been right with the world now, but sadly it’s not. Not by a long shot. Because you see, Joi has a story and it is a story, Yash is not ready to hear. From fighting his own demons and loving a broken woman who is over a decade older than him to his toxic relationship with his father and his mother’s memories that still haunt him, this emotional warfare is going to change cash in ways he cannot imagine.
the only thing worth fighting for,
the only thing worth dying for in this world, is freedom.
We are humans made of flesh and blood, composed of dreams and desires, breathing on the string of success and failures. We live life, we endure, we persevere; some win in life while others are defeated by life. And although we get opportunities, our chances, then why do some emerge victoriously while others not. Why do some taste success while others die with the burden of regrets. Maybe, just maybe, not all fight for freedom and that makes all the difference.
Ashes and Doves by Sawan Winchester is a story of Yash who grows up in a toxic environment, with a web of lies, and wishes to change the world – be a writer. In his tumultuous life, he lost his mother at a tender age, is brought up by a drunkard of a father, has a girlfriend who verbally slaps his fragility, a friend who always beside him, and an interesting child for a friend – Chintu. Yash wants to publish his book but gets rejection for a full 29 times. And then one fine day, he comes across a Literary Agent Joi. She sees a spark in him and gradually, there are sparks between the two. Amidst this, there is a lie of his mother, Nejat, who gifted him poetry and words in inheritance.
I particularly loved the book for an obvious reason – the protagonist talks about books. Yash was so so much into books that I frequently came across Kerouac and Bukowski. At one point, there was Rumi too. I cannot begin to tell how much I loved the writer aspect of Yash. I could just sniff on the books he held and swoon over the words he read. The book spread across a variety of themes is a great attempt being a debut work. I found several themes coursing through the narrative – love, affection, betrayal, lies, mistrust, friendship, longing. The author managed to weave all of them nicely in bringing together important messages. The writing is poetic that again engaged me for I love poetic prose. However, the author’s grip on writing did falter at several places that annoyed me a bit.
To talk about the characters, none of them were exactly likable except Chintu and Dan. Dan turned out to be a reliable friend while Chintu (although I wouldn’t reveal the mystery behind him) was a lovely presence. Joi’s obsession with writing and then the gradual unraveling of her troubled past was well-described. Through her character, the author brings mental health into the picture that has the ability to break a person from within. Yash’s father’s character was definitely the darkest of them all. I was trying to understand him but his naked truth, toward the end of the book, shook me.
So, I didn’t like the story much for it got cliche at several places. I did wonder if Joi and Yash didn’t develop a romantic angle, how would their story go ahead? A possibility that could have been explored. Then, Ruhani’s presence didn’t contribute much. Her sudden dismissal of Yash and then throwing tantrum on seeing him with Joi left me puzzled. I can literally continue to rant on the characters but I will stop here.
With a significantly decent story and an appreciable story, the book also points to the publishing industry. I found this topic pretty relevant as well as important. The book throws light on how everyone is writing as per the needs of the market. It also brings into picture the sorry state of those authors who are reluctant to write what the market needs. All in all, the book fared average for me and would turn out to be a great pick for the beginners. By the way, I loved the cover. It relates to an important message of this book so well!
MY RATING: 3/ 5
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