Time, is a relative concept. Reading this book is an experience that will make you experience this relativity. In a poignant and elegant debut novel, Udayan Mukherjee has produced a work that has without a doubt jumped straight into my favourites shelf. Dark Circles is lucidly written, with a descriptive form that might bother most fans of purist literature, but it is refreshing. From adopting a matter-of-fact approach towards a rather gut-wrenching family secret, to a beautiful appreciation of mental health, each page of this book reaches out and clings to its reader. The depths of the book alternate between the obvious (the parallels of an urbane lifestyle as opposed to a quaint life in the mountains) to subtleties in plain sight (one of my favourite parts of the books is the conversation about good trees. I have put up a picture of it) to downright beautiful (the exchange between the brothers in the park).
Even though the book very articulately emphasises the dynamics between families, societies and mental health, personally what stood out for me was the capturing of complex emotions and thought processes in simple words. Again, one of my favourite paragraphs from the book dealt with the same.
A seemingly melancholic book that makes you stoically think about life, it made for the perfect companion on a long train ride. I am genuinely looking forward to more of Udayan’s work.
PS: Udayan was formerly the managing editor of CNBC India, and had quit his job to introspect in life. He spent a lot of time in the Himalayas, where he also ended up writing this book. Maybe the clichéd idea of discovering art away from the mundane chaos of urban life is true. Just some food for thought.