Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Paradise Lost & Regained - Book Review

Paradise Lost & Regained
By Ratnadip Acharya
Review By Ila Garg

Paradise Lost & Regained is a novel by an extremely talented writer Ratnadip Acharya. The book is published by Frog Books, an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd. The cover is simple, sober, and aptly conveys the plot. Gokul Ram Singh (cover designer) has done a good job with the cover art. The title is direct and intrigues the readers. Also, the paper quality seems good. The layout and typeset has been done excellently as well.

Ratnadip is a well-trained street magician and has demonstrated his skill to many across the country. A NIT Jamshedpur graduate, Ratnadip lives in Mumbai, where he works as an Electrical Engineer. He has contributed many inspirational write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for the Soul. His debut novel titled Life is always Aimless… Unless You Love it was published in December 2012 and was received well by the readers across the country. Being deeply interested in life, nature and its mysteries, this time Ratnadip has come up with a storyline the like of which has hitherto not been told. It is about a little deer growing up in a far-flung deep forest, teeming with its fellow deer, other animals, trees and rocks. Yet we can all find ourselves in this strange and surreal world that Ratnadip has created in this inspirational novel Paradise Lost & Regained.
The blurb reads as, “Whispered the forest & its trees, ‘Little deer, tell us your story again.’
Smiled I & asked, ‘What will you gain hearing it time & again?’
Replied the forest at once, ‘It is not just a story of a deer,
but of we all - forest, earth, sky, trees, wind and river.
It is a testimony to trust, love, hope & courage
that we will all remember for ages.’
With a smile, again I began to narrate my story,
which breathed my love, fear, success, failure & glory.
It spanned from my birth in the forest to human captivity,
from where I escaped to explore life’s other possibility.
Everywhere and every moment I received help from Nature,
& it taught me to experience life from closer.
I learnt that the other name of life is Mystery,
and that it is beautiful with all its unknown twists and unpredictability.
Once I finished my narration, the forest was throbbing with life,
there prevailed only peace, silence & joy, and no strife.
‘Name your story,’ breathed the forest and every living entity it contained.
Thought I for a while and replied...
‘Paradise Lost & Regained.’”

The book is laced with surrealistic instances that will take you to a different world altogether. It might appear rather unconventional as the protagonist is a deer, and not a human. In fact, there is no human being as a character in the book. This is therefore not a regular chick-lit novel. I must clarify this isn’t a suspense, thriller, or even a retelling of a mythological work. This one is much simpler and yet complicated.

The story moves in a flow and nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. The author writes in great detail about the birth of a little deer, and his growing up years in the dense forest. As the baby deer learns the lessons of life from the mother deer, the readers too develop a new knowledge within themselves. The readers might take it as a book with moral teachings initially but as they go along with this vivacious little deer, they will realise that the book has many more things to unveil. For instance, it gives a hint about the probable human emotions like fear, doubt, anxiety, trust, dilemma, and desires in animals.

The events in the life of this deer are interestingly penned down. Also the language is easy to comprehend and style of narration is unique. Further, this 252 page book is well written and moves beyond the regular romance novels. What makes it stands out is the fact that the author has dared to produce something new. He has dared to listen to his heart instead of following the already treaded path. It’s a light read and one can easily carry it while travelling to read along. 

‘Yay’ Factors: The concept that is different from the league, the writing style that is simple yet compelling. The book is edited well too. So yay for Surojit Mohan Gupta! The layout and presentation is equally good, esp. the quotes with which each chapter is born.

‘Nay’ Factors: Perhaps, the extra-long descriptions which were appearing forceful and marring the emotional appeal of the book.

My Verdict: If you love nature and wish to tread something different from mainstream, go for this. To find out what this deer signify, why has the author chosen to tell the story of a deer, what is so special about the deer's growing up years; you will have to read the novel, Paradise Lost & Regained.

“Within all of us there is a small deer,
Which is lively, joyous and knows no fear.”

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Infibeam | Flipkart | Amazon | Landmark | Crossword

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