Publication Date: Out Today!!!
Formats: Hardback & Ebook
Price: Hb £16.99/ Ebook £9.99
Publisher: Merky Books (Penguin)
I would like to say a huge thank you to Merky Books (Penguin) for allowing me to read and review this exceptional and moving read. I would also like to say a huge thank you and congratulations to the creative talent, Jyoti Patel, who’s storytelling brings the two identities of a family who are both Indian and English and how the younger generation feel a mix of confusions of who they are, as in they don’t quite feel comfortable in India but also feel isolated and targeted in England. It’s about secrets and kept in a family and how those secrets come out and whether there’s a chance to heal and forgive. Intrigued? Let’s find out a bit more from the blurb.
Nik has a lot of questions about his late father but knows better than to ask his mother Avani. It’s their unspoken rule.
When his grandfather dies, Nik has the opportunity to learn about the man he never met. Armed with a key and new knowledge about his parents’ past, Nik sets out to unlock the secrets that his mother has been holding onto his whole life.
As the carefully crafted portrait Avani has painted for her son begins to crack, and painful truths emerge, can the two of them find their way back to each other?
I was incredibly lucky to receive a proof copy of this moving novel about family, secrets, tragedy, the feeling of misplacement between two identities that of being both British and Indian and how between the two the main character Nik does not feel understood r comfortable. When he visits India he feels more of a tourist than others and yet where he lives and studies he also feels not quite a part of the community, he feels isolated and mistrusted by the people who view him as a foreigner in their “own views” of what they consider their home to be.
But it’s also more to do with secrets from a family’s past that seem to shake up the life which Nik and his mother have only really been floating on the surface and around the subject of “what really happened to his father?”. You grow to love and sympathise with each character that is portrayed, both the sun, the mother and also all the associated characters from the past to the present. There is the past of Avani, living within a family hiding anything that suggests discord or violence especially domestic abuse and the shame that could be brought down on the victim. There is also running through this the casual racism that guides the family and others around them in the society in which they live. It becomes more apparent to Nik when he decides to study up in the north and which leaves him feeling even more isolated vulnerable to his own feelings.
I cannot highly recommend this astounding book enough and urge anyone to pick it up and read it. It’s both emotional, charged with tense family dramas and moving scenes of understanding oneself and also for forgiving yourself to and being able to talk out and to not feel that weight of shame of not being able to talk out due to a sense of protection, and not allowing any sign of weakness. It both highlights issues surrounding mental health and how past abuses can create a prison for the victim.
Honestly please get a hold of a copy this is a truly fantastic debut novel and it’s one that leaves you thinking and yet also gives hope and that it’s never too late to reconcile and move on from the past.
Ratings: 5 🌟s with a large ☕️ and a large 🍰.
Jyoti Patel is a London-based author. She is a graduate of the University of East Anglia’s Prose Fiction MA and winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Her writing has previously been published as part of We Present’s ‘Literally’ series and in the anthology for the 2022 Bristol Short Story Prize, for which she was shortlisted. ‘The Things That We Lost’ is her debut novel.
I hope you have enjoyed this little review of mine this is definitely one that is going to be on my top 23 books of 23. What a book to kick start the new year!!! If you are wondering where to get a copy, you can find this in Waterstones, any independent store and of course on Amazon. I will leave you now to say Happy Reading and see you soon!!’.