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Book Review: RAFFLESIA: The Banished Princess by Gautam

‘RAFFLESIA – The Banished Princess’ by Gautam is a Bildungsroman novel. Through this book we meet Appu (Apurva Sharma) – a very silent, emotion-provoking and intense character. The book is about him. How he grows up with his parents, the kind of society he witnesses, his subaudition with some of the people outside his family, and most important how he struggles to eke out his share from the world or how he tussles to be a good fit in the hedonism of the world which is nothing but a meaningless chase for unbridled desires.

Appu is terrific. You will feel for him. He is naïve, honest, and inexperienced. His favourtie tale is RAFFLESIA – The Banished Princess. Appu liked this tale ever since he got hold of it. He had read it numerous times since his childhood. Why? There is some strange connection to his heart with this tale of a princess. Probably Appu tried to rise above all – everything – from all the hues and cries that grip the soul of a middle-class family. But did he succeed? Probably it is too affront to say anything about this character Appu.

As you read the book, coming to its end, you will realize how the value of fate influences the overall life of a person. Appu is brilliant at academics but gets nowhere. He is a good man but gets no girl to love. He has a good loving small family but it fails to make him better off in life. Why such miseries happen with Appu only. He is an ordinary man…but there is something intangible. How would he figure out as what’s keeping him behind in every aspect of life? The tale of Appu is very relatable – an ordinary man with extraordinary struggles. Why he has to slog even for basic necessities in life. You will feel sad for him, the characterization will tear your heart apart and make you embarrassed, you will be forced to look inside you. A strong introspection is something that you get when you read this book. Life is not so good and kind for people who born out of ‘silver spoon’ category. The agony and pain of Appu can be understood from the following excerpts.

“Why it is always me, Rahul? What have I done?” Appu tried to wipe his tears. Rahul held Appu tightly.

“Because you are very special, Baba. And god has his own ways with the people he loves.”

Many must be thinking that this book is about a fairytale cum fantasy novel. Well, isn’t like. Rather the story of the book is being influenced by this tale. It is more about subconscious of Appu than executing this fairytale in fairy land.

Being a debutant writer, the matter of delight is Gautam’s exception writing skills. He has made this so-ordinary-looking book into something intense and influential. If you love silent yet powerful stories with silence as one of their prominent characteristics, well then go nowhere and stick to it.

What a perfect prose to sympathize with Appu – the protagonist.

“I waited for an eternity for the sunflowers to bloom. They didn’t. And I waited.”


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