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Book Review: Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore (Conversations in Every Heart via Forgotten Art) by Rimple

Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore by Rimple is a musical cum romantic novel. Once there was a time when there were no fast telecommunication or Internet, well then letter-writing was as common as emailing today. And with the advent of technology, people largely got into tech-things and now letter writing seems as we never used it or it was a thing of Stone Age. Letter writing had its own charm and fun – no matter how slow it was.

Getting hands on the story, we find Rajvir from Mumbai, a successful business personality. He has had sad past, lost parents at an early age, and socially he is aloof. Strange enough that being a rich and successful personality, he had no one in whole Mumbai to whom he can call his friend or girlfriend. He is an army-kid and that’s quite possible with these people. He leads a monotonous life.
Taking a cue from the previous night’s dream, one morning he goes to a bookstore. There the book A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini catches his attention. Leafing through the book, he finds a green folded paper tucked between two pages of the book. It says: FOR THE ONE WHO FINDS IT. Rajvir buys the book and goes home to read it. The letter is from a stranger, there is no address or name mentioned on it.

The letter could be a coincident. Curiosity got the better of him, thus he goes again to the same book store. After browsing many books, he finds the letter again in one more book. He buys that book as well. The letters refresh his mind, he feels back into the life. Now he wants to find out more about that person – the letter writer. He carries out online research but finds that the person behind it is a female but remains anonymous for some reasons. To get connected with that person, he names himself as a Joker and sends her an email. He gets reply from Vol-de-mort (thief of death) - the pseudo name of the letter writer.

Here onwards, the novel gets into music, especially the Indie-pop music of 90s. First they converse through email and then via a chatting app. They have common interests, like talking about 90s music, magic of Mumbai rain, philosophy and science behind music, right and left side of brain, history, talk of famous people like Einstein, etcetera…etcetera. Among all sorts of conversation, the profound one is music, especially when both were born in 1980s and have grown up as 90s kids. The list of songs goes on and on. While reading this book, you will get well acquainted with some of the best rock/pop bands of 90s, like Biddu and Euphoria. More than their conversation, it is the explanation of lyrics and video song scenes which will keep you thrilling about this book.

They chat via an app – so far not met or heard each other’s voice. They don’t know how they look like but still virtually they feel connected and both feel that they are getting ready for a love story.

On the other hand, Rajvir meets Taashvi on account of a business deal. As per their business objective, they join hand for creating jobs for eunuchs in the fields like traffic management, recovery, and so on. Rajvir takes special interest in Taashvi’s work for the betterment of eunuchs. Their professional understanding soon turns into personal liking. Well, the now comes the million dollar question – who is in love with whom?

Professionally and then personally Rajvir and Taashvi get along but in the backdrop music continues through the chatting of Joker and Vol-de-mort. So, the question is, will Rajvir go for Taashvi or that letter writer? Even if he goes for Taashvi, there is a dark secret about her. Will Rajvir be able to gulp it down like a gentleman? There can be co-incidents but at the same time mismatches. Though music is leitmotif in the book, it subtly converts into a gripping love story with an unavoidable outcome.

In the light of its genre, the novel is unique for more than one reason: it is musical, full of songs, updates you with good information, exciting romance, and offers throwback years of 90s’ kids. The novel is quite lengthy but worth reading.

Keeping a balance between musical affinity and romance, Rimple has beautifully used her language and narrative skills to make it a compelling read. It is a must read for musical lovers and people who saw the golden days of their life from 1985 to 2005.


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