My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The blurb begins with that poignant sentence and Ashwini Iyer Tiwari hooks the reader into a journey of Oorja’s life. The word “Oorja” means energy but Oorja’s life has so far not been about any form of energy. Smothered by love from one parent but torn to shreds by the absence of it from the other has had her living her life in a constant state of limbo. A loner, she has always found comfort in the bosom of her mother and the loving cocoon her mother had always built around her. But it is the feeling of utter insignificance from her father that shapes her outlook on life and it is this insecurity that has her jumping in and out of relationships, the last one landing her in a kind of trouble beyond imagination.
The author takes us on an introspective journey where the reader is made to walk in the shoes of the protagonist making each of us feel every damning and soul-bearing thought that revolve in her head. Thru the banks of Benaras and the wilds of the jungle near Jim Corbett National Park, Oorja searches for her father and her lost identity. There’s a part in the book where she stands near a river and questions about an actual place that she should call home and honestly, it was one of the most contemplative statements that I had read in a recent while.
The mystery surrounding her missing father and the presence of an enigmatic stranger who seems to be hiding puzzling secrets adds to the turmoil swirling inside Oorja’s mind but she realizes the power of love and finding that one person who answers to your soul.
Mapping Love is like a haunting melody, each sentence in the story causing us to stop, breathe and reflect on ourselves. I would have loved to have a little more clarity on Anang’s medical issues coz I was left feeling as if not seeing the whole panoramic picture. This is a story to be savored by the reader; emotional and touching, it is one of those books that leaves the reader with a lump in the throat.
I’m leaving you with a quote from the book that said it all for me!
Exceptional debut by the renowned filmmaker! ⛈️⛈️⛈️⛈️⛈️
Many thanks to Rupa Publications and the author for a copy of this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Here I am, living my life looking at the rear-view mirror, driving to the end of the beginning of where I started.
My body still hurts.
It has been some time since Oorja Chaturvedi came home; but the wounds she suffered, at the hands of the very people who so aptly named her, cut deep. Her relationship with her father was barely strung together with a few words. But when her mother dies, the woman whose nagging love was both her comfort and her secret hiding place from the world, new grief melds with old bitterness.
Reeling from the loss, Oorja decides to come back to India, only to find her estranged father missing. Her search leads her to her grandfather, a man who had lived all his life among books and forest, withering away in his house. As she tries to grapple with her grief for a dying grandfather, she unexpectedly finds love and solace in the arms of a man who inherits her grandfather’s estate. But before she can decide what Anang and her own future together hold, Oorja must first untangle the secrets of their shared past.
A quiet gut-punch of a debut, acclaimed filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s novel, Mapping Love is heartbreakingly brave and equally delicate. It is a story that digs its claws into you and doesn’t let go, long after you’ve finished it.
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