Publisher: Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Source: Review copy (courtesy the Readers Cosmos Book Review Program!)
In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar, little does he know that his life will change forever…
When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom that she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it…
They say Homing Pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.
The Homing Pigeons had a lot working for it; right from the beginning. The title, for one, felt 'comfortable' and left behind a beautiful image of what the book could be about. The blurb was enticing, further evoking the idea of two unsuspecting lovers who were meant to be, come what may.
And when I started reading the book, I was hooked, as the writing was so so beautiful. I was reading it at the same time as Fahima from I Read, Ergo I Write (which was a lot of fun! We've never done this before!) and we couldn't stop texting each other about it!!
At its core, The Homing Pigeons is a love story that grows along with the central characters; disentangling itself from obstacles and severing cuts and bruises formed out of momentary foolishness, crumbling backbones and harsh circumstances. But reducing The Homing Pigeons to simply "a love story" does not do it justice. In fact, I felt the love story was the weakest part of the plot- though it was definitely essential to carry the book forward.
More than anything, it was the writing that drew me in. The writing morphed the characters into so much more, with both Aditya and Radhika's alternating points of view and the back story revealed in bits and pieces. Despite their imperfections and the endless melodramatic circles they ran in, it was impossible to dislike the main characters as they were so resilient. They braved through obstacles that felt real rather than manufactured or blown out of proportion.
I loved how artfully the back story was unraveled, surprising you most of the time as connections you never saw coming are slowly revealed to you and it all clicks in the end. There are so many lines you want to hold on to, that make you want to pause and reflect and quote over and over again! ❤
"The pain lingered on, of not being able to garner the courage to express what I felt for her. I felt the agony of never being able to dance with her to the tunes of old English songs. I felt anguished that even if I met her later in life, I wouldn't be seventeen."
The last line, I felt, captured so much!
Another line that left me feeling as hollow and torn as Radhika:
"I stayed there, locked inside, sweating, unsure of who I was hiding from."
The Homing Pigeons is a book that definitely does not hold back with parts that may shock you, make you feel as broken as the characters and have you enraptured till you hit the final page. It is the most engaging Indian contemporary novel I've read so far and I was happy to hear that there will be a sequel. I haven't revealed much of the plot in my review but I can assure you that it is a wonderfully written edgy, sort-of controversial and thoughtful book that stands out (in the best way) from the handful of contemporary Indian books I've read!