Author: Anubhav Srivastava
Franz Kafka is an author who is adored for his writings that had uncanny portrayals of bleakness, oppression and nightmarish qualities in a fictional world, from which the word Kafkaesque has been derived. The author Anubhav Srivastava, himself such a big fan of Kafka and his writings that he has named a protagonist in his book as Kafka, comes up with the book “Flowers of Sapphire”, an ethereal love story which transcends the reader into another literary world which is not much quixotic, but very much Kafkaesque in its similitude.
The storyline follows Kafka and Vivah and their unconventional love story. Kafka has been in love before with Mira, and three years have passed since, but the memories of that love are still fresh. He comes to an island to find some belonging, and encounters Vivah there. Vivah, also growing to feel Kafka as her companion, knows that one day she will have to leave the island. Will Kafka be able to forget Mira and will he and Vivah come close? What will be the ending of this unconventional love story? This is what forms the storyline.
The characters have been written with alacrity and explored in depth. The story has some twists and turns, but it is mostly the way the author has weaved the words into impactful lines, and the writing style that keeps the reader riveted. However, one hopes for some more memorable dialogues from such a book. The first chapter is named “Kafka on the shore”, probably as a tribute to Haruki Murakami’s novel, but one can’t much understand its importance or implications to the narrative.
The writing style employed by the author is perspicuous and lyrical, yet the narrative has a searing emotional intensity that keeps the reader engrossed. Though one starts the book thinking it to be a short and light read, considering that it has only 80 pages; the extravagantly ornamental and hefty words used in the story, and the fervent emotions and riveting Kafkaesque interpretations that one confronts, take time to sink in and the readers will comprehend new meanings and elucidations on reading the book again. Due to this reason, the book should be read slowly and the reader should relish each and every word with élan. Also, for this very same reason, the book is not a one-time read and the story feels fresh every time one revels in it, as one will love the different renditions and varied emanating realizations that one gathers from reading the same tale again, which translates into a wonderful ‘aha moment’. However, this succinct tale needs somewhat more taut editing, and grammatical and spelling mistakes are also present at places.
This is a book that should be read for it being a fervently emotional tale, and at the same time not being overtly melodramatic and schmaltzy. The story is part jaunty and part lachrymose; but truly Kafkaesque in its character owing to its surrealistic musings. However, it can be a difficult read for some and those looking for light-hearted reads should not go for it. It is recommended for those readers who like to delve into quirky and feisty tales of both overt and covert sentimentality; and those who love to read a prosaic work with lyrical quintessence.
WRITTEN BY: CHIRDEEP MALHOTRA