Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love Across the Borders Review: A tale of troubled romance

Book: Love Across the Borders

Author: Sudama Chandra Panigrahi
Publisher: All About Books Global
Genre: Romance
Pages: 242
Price: Rs 299/-
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: ‘Love Across the Borders’ is a romantic novel which depicts the tale of cross-border and cross-cultural love. Despite being primarily of romance genre, the novel has strong political undertones and highlights the real-life tension that sporadically brews between India and China.

In quintessence, the story revolves around Jia, a Chinese girl, and Jivan, an Indian boy, and manifests a tale which begins in a shabby hospital in Jharsuguda and concludes across the borders in Beijing City Hospital. Between the two hospitals and between the 240-odd pages, the script goes through its ups & downs meandering through alleys of happy courtship and stopping by at baleful bylanes of conflict and turbulence.

The first few chapters pack the maximum punch, as the reader gets drawn into the entwined lives of the protagonists who discover each other in the dingy hospital room after suffering grave injuries in a bomb blast. The author Sudama Chandra Panigrahi wastes no time in heavy introductions and paints the gruesome scene of a bomb blast right at the beginning, thereby making the reader sit up and take notice. Jia and Jivan, two perfect strangers and common victims of the tragedy, bump into each other in a local hospital! It is a sheer joy for a reader to flip through those pages when they develop feelings for each other during their long stay in the hospital.

The author must be credited for choosing such a unique setting for the romance to blossom. He keeps teasing our imagination by incorporating touchy-feely scenes during late hours of the night in the common hospital room that our protagonists share. It is also a big respite from the clich├ęd forms of romance which we are being served by oodles of modern-day authors.

However, once Jia & Jivan get discharged, the pace of the narrative slows down a bit, and their romance is confronted by multiple hurdles ranging from individual protests to political tensions. Amidst the conflicts, they keep their flame alive, but separation seems inevitable.

The novel concludes on a happy-sad note. The titles of the final chapters could have been chosen more wisely, since they tend to give away the surprise.

As for the writing, Sudama’s style is reminiscent of classic authors. He beautifully plays with the words and flirts with phrases, evoking awe and bringing back memories of greats like Munshi Premchand. The author seems to have done a meticulous amount of research on the Sino-Indian relationship and incorporates several real-life political events in a very effortless manner.

There are a few other characters that blend with the story naturally and help take it forward. The most notable amongst them is Srabani, a one-time love of Jivan, and who, as she’d say, ‘gets lucky’ towards the end.

Overall, the novel makes for an engaging read. It has all the elements of a troubled love story and is a palatable concoction of life, death, war & peace. 

Note: The book is available in uRead and can be bought here.  

~By Ritesh Agarwal

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