18 October 2020 | By: Writing Buddha

A Hundred Little Flames by Preeti Shenoy (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

 1877th BLOG POST -->>

35th Book of 2020!


There are few books about which you are so excited that you get them as soon as they release but never pick them up thinking that you will read them when there should be an ambience as such around you. I think it is just “reader” thing that makes you think weird arrangements like this. Haha! I finally managed to complete Preeti Shenoy’s “A Hundred Little Flames” which released, well, in 2017, by Westland publication in around 360 pages. Yes, it’s a long book and shall take time for one to finish it after picking up but I must say, it is surely an eventful one even when through the synopsis, the premise of the book looks quite dull.


I have always respected Preeti Shenoy as someone who expresses women’s emotions perfectly with her books and I always like knowing the other person’s perspective hence I started liking and reading more of her novels. But this book is very different from all the other books she has written – this is majorly about men as protagonist- either it’s Ayan or his grandfather – author goes through their personality so deep that the character formation does wonder to their representation in the book. At any point of time, I didn’t feel that the book is fiction just because the kind of development with characters and their respective flashbacks that author has worked upon. It only keeps going upwards in an upward trend – with each page you will find their characters more mature and powerful than before. That’s the speciality of this book. Even the supporting characters are so involved in the story.


Another thing I would like to point out is the ambience of the locality in which the authoress has based her story in. This story needed a serene place rather than a metro set-up and author has done full justice by basing the tale in a village set-up at Kerala. Even the story shifts out from there, it reaches Pondicherry which is again beautifully described. Even when I haven’t travelled to those places, I could imagine the whole nature, climate, sunrise, sunset, delicacies, food, locale people etc. just through the writer’s words. The research has been terrific and it shows in every scene.


Preeti has been a next-level philosophical in this book against all the books she wrote before this one. The conversation between both- grandfather and grandson brings many moments where one of the characters are getting enlightened about handling an aspect of life which they had not thought of it the way other character presented. Somewhere, you shall definitely look within and think of your relationships and the depth into them after reading the diary entries of the grandfather – Gopal Shanker.


The chemistry between him and Rohini is so beautifully described that I just couldn’t fall in love with it. I wish to believe that it’s true. With that, author also puts light on how the love has been looked upon by the previous generations and the current one where we make into bed without even knowing each other well with minimum emotional exchange. The aesthetics maintained by the authoress while describing those diary entries and the relationship of these two characters are just excellent.


Similarly, author also puts light on many other social elements through this book – how a youth suffers when peers are performing well whereas they end up being jobless or how the people in villages accept us wholeheartedly against the people in cities where we have to prove ourselves with our status or how people end up putting their parents in mental asylum or old-age houses just for their lust of owning their property or how parents don’t care about their children’s emotions anymore for their lust of power. Author has also spoken in depth on mental health issues and how fragile a person becomes when dealing with it. Preeti has also spoken about in her previous and latest works but it remains to be a major part in this story too.


Talking about the drawbacks – I wished if the climax was little happier than the way it ended. Also, I felt that the pre-climax and climax was abruptly ended – author had chance to make it a beautiful end to the relationship. There are few mistakes in the Date-stamps mentioned in the diary entries – which is avoidable. I also felt that there could have been a good closure on Ayan’s relationship with Shivani – I didn’t feel it as justified. And – the synopsis of the book doesn’t do justice to the beauty of this book which I feel author should have written with more depth and story elements.


Overall, this is a very beautiful book which you would love reading if you have been missing someone or looking for understanding relationships and people more. You will also start looking at old-age people differently after reading this. I am seriously missing my grandfather after reading this book. Well done, Preeti Shenoy! I rate this book 4.5* out of 5. It deserves to be read and re-read.






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