Author: Anukrti Upadhyay
Reviewed By: Dipali Bhasin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: Rs 499
My rating: 4.5/5
About The Author
Anukrti Upadhyay has a post-graduate degree in Management and Literature, and a graduate degree in Law. She writes fiction and poetry, in both English and Hindi. She impressed readers and critics alike with her twin novellas, Daura and Bhaunri in 2019 and won acclaim for her short story collection, Japani Sarai. Currently, she is working on various writing projects and her job simultaneously.
Cover Page and Title
Kintsugi is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. It emphasizes the fractures and breaks with tree sap lacquer dusted with gold and silver. Rather than hiding or disguising these imperfections, it flaunts them. The cover of “Kintsugi” has a striking cover page that instantly strikes a chord with the reader. The author has used imagery that complements the title. The delicate and fine filigree she has used in her fonts not only attracts attention but enhances the appeal of the book. The title is short and crisp, easy to remember and enunciate.
The book “Kintsugi” is a brilliantly unique novel that boasts of a style that is out of the ordinary. It doesn’t follow the stereotype way of writing. Rather, it is divided into six parts, each focussing on a character from the story. As the story progresses, the plot follows the lives of these characters and in the labyrinth of life, they meet and part and are interestingly connected to one another in unexpected ways.
Haruko is a Japanese student who has come to Jaipur to learn the traditional craft of jewellery making. Had it not been a misunderstanding and a favour that had to be returned, Haruko would not be working with the goldsmiths in Johari Bazaar since women are not allowed to learn the craft of goldsmiths and artisans. An accident has her spending considerable time with Leela, the daughter of Munnaji. Leela draws inspiration from Haruko and wants to become a jewellery designer too, much to the chagrin of her family members. During this period Haruko meets Dr Prakash whose fiance, Meena is in Japan to obtain her fellowship. A twist of fate, a wedding called off and an impulsive moment finds both Haruko and Dr Prakash in the throes of passion.
The next parts of the book, take us to Japan where Meena, Yuri and Hajime are introduced to the reader. Meena and Yuri find solace in each other and their commitment to each other is unquestionable until she meets Hajime. Meena embraces her relationship with Hajime. However, Yuri is devastated by this learning. The consequence thereof is so tragic that it shatters her and has a profound impact on her relationship with Hajime.
Embracing scars by filling them up with new experiences, love and emotions is akin to golden joinery or Kintsugi. The inter-connecting life stories in the book portray people whose circumstances may take them to the lowest level of life but with hope and never-say-die spirit they build themselves up by finding a purpose or love to fill their lives.
I loved Leela’s character in the book. Her caring nature and wonderful relation with Haruko exudes warmth. As she gains years, her dedication, practical approach and fortitude can be seen when she takes over the families responsibilities.
The language used by the author is lucid and even though the book is in parts, there is fluidity in its storytelling. It’s woven with emotions and tied with some thought-provoking lines and metaphors that one may want to underline to ponder upon for a later time.
“The turtle is stupid. All shores are the same. You are the sea. Roll endlessly.”
‘Not all vessels are meant to hold water, some are for allowing water to seep away.’
Anukriti, like in her previous books, uses Indian parlance like gaddi’, kundansaaz, sunar’. However, it doesn’t impede understanding. Rather it adds to the appeal. With articulation, aspects such as feminism, patriarchy, LGBT are the touched upon.
The book “Kintsugi” is a delicious read. I, however, felt that Yuri’s character needed to have more punch. Anukrti’s Kintsugi draws her essence from broken people and the scars we carry with the optimism that these cracks make way for light to enter or pave way for another to step in and heal us.
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