- Author: Sudatta Mukherjee
- Language: English
- Print length: 258 pages
Do you ever read a book and feel that the person in the story is you?
I felt. Very close to Lily. The woman with ambitions. The woman who seeks freedom. The woman who wants to love. Who loves, a lot. But does not know how to fight the two worlds she is living in. Lily does not know how to find a way out when she is torn between two entirely different things.
Hallowed Ties by Sudatta Mukherjee is a coming-of-age story of Lily who grows up with dreams in her eyes. She loves Calcutta but believes that her escape from patriarchal norms would only be to seek education. She moves to London and then life further takes her around Cambridge and Melbourne.
In between moving, Lily finds herself grappling to hold on to connections. There’s a void. There’s emptiness. Grief. Love takes its time to finally reach Lily and make her open her heart to let it go. Acceptance comes by. Life becomes easier.
Hallowed Ties revolves as much around Lily as it does around people close to her. Be it her super supportive father, her traditional mother, her loving siblings, and then loves of her life. The story flows smoothly and one cannot stop but move along the way, observing Lily’s predicament, heartbreak, disappointments, and grief.
Sudatta has beautifully fleshed out the characters and given them a chance to speak for themselves. I found a home in Lily. She is full of flaws, indecisive and probably, hard to understand. But all she desires is some space. And that’s perfectly okay! Not just Lily, each character has its shortcomings which are not fully justifiable. That makes them real.
The quaint old Calcutta comes alive in the narrative that meanders through several alleys. The world-building of Hallowed Ties took me by surprise and kept me hooked to the book. I was thoroughly invested in the story that opens up, a layer after another.
While the story shares about the limited freedom granted to women, it also sheds light on living with grief. That grief never disappears.
One simply learns to co-exist with grief.
And this is the truth. One that Lily realises eventually.
Read this book for its story, excellent storytelling, relatable characters, and a variety of perspectives.
My rating: 5/ 5
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