I would like to tell you about a book of a new author I have discovered. His name is Amaan Khan and he writes amazing. Don’t worry, if you haven’t discovered him yet, you will.
Disconnect is a fiction comprised into thirteen chapters, an introduction, a prologue and an epilogue. It is the story of eleven different people who apparentely have no connection with each other. The timeline revolves around 24 hours of a Mumbay day. Each character seem to have a good, happy life. There is a journalist, an inspector, a pizza deliverer, a taxi driver and so on. You seem to find so much diversity here. Like the entire planet has been comprised into one single city in one single day. Also there are many feelings involved. Love, friendship, responsability, hatred, rasism. Is is like a pandora box that is mixed with pieces of heaven.
I can see how the characters grew spiritually with every chapter that passed. Like the 24 hours had made them more wise, more constient of the life they have.
The plot is divided into eleven stories that are presented in paralel, like the lives of them are being put into a balance of happiness, each one wanting to measure it and try to increase it.
During the thirteen chapters, there were the stories of few of them that were being focused on more than other, or at least that’s what I felt.
It is first about the story of Shaan, a little boy who was kidnapped from their parents by a fanatic muslim who wanted to punish the unfaithful ones. In this story there are involved six characters. There is Gautam, a respected surgeon in the Mumbai comunity, his wife Payal, his son, Shaan, Izmail Bhai – the one who planned the kidnap, Adil, Izmail Bhai’s obidient follower and, of course, inspector Kapadia.
It is also the story of Naznin, a teenage girl who has to decide weather to wear a burka or not. She is in the moment off discovering herself and taking a decision that will decide the rest of her life.
Another character that woke up many feelings in me was Rahul, a gay man who left India and his family in order to go to London to live his dream. He must now face the struggle of getting back to his father, face his worst nightmares and come back to a world that rejects his existance, who rejects the idea of having one like him in their community. He is the perfect example of how racism can harm a life, how can it destroy us and transform us into monsters.
The book somehow reflects our lives. World is small. We have all probably had a moment when we encountered someone we know in the least expected place. We all are connected with each other. The title of the book is like an antithesis of the plot. Or at least that’s what it seems. Although the characters are so connected to each other through the events they have to face, they have no connection with each other. They live separate lives, they are not friends, they merely know of each other’s existance. So they are disconnected but connected as they are connected but disconnected.
Another thing that I liked about this book were the characters. They are so complex, so real. Their emotions are described so well that, at some point, you start to identify with them, to feel their pain as if you were there, standing next to them, being part of their lives. The events are so real, so well anchored into the reality that it could be the story of anyone. It could be the story of you and me. You start wondering if the author really created a fiction or he really knew all those people, as if all the grief and sorrow, all the happiness and all the excitement had passed through the filter of his soul before being put on paper.
Usually when you hear about India, or any other Asian country you think about some other different culture, different people, like they are from some other planet and have nothing in common to us. But this book makes you realize how similar we are. How connected our lives are, if I may say so. We all are human beings with the same longings, the same sufferings, the same passions. We all have a mother and father that we love, we all have a son for which we would give our entire world to know is safe.
This book was also something different from what the author got us used to. Although he ususally writes distopic stories, that have almost no connection to the reality (but which I still find awsome) this time he offered us the truth. The reality. The life. He surprised us with something new.
Hopefully we will hear from him soon with another novel. Until then, you can read disconnect on his personal blog. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.
© picnicontheshelf, December 3, 2018