A Life Less Lived marks Saumya's(Saumya Misra ,Lucknow ,India) debut as a novelist.It is interesting ,imaginative and full of suspense .I could read its 185 pages in four sittings.Written in in an autobiographical style,it is the story of a young girl ,who has a remarkable humaneness and emotional maturity to understand and trust an old vagabond on one hand , and to be a remarkably dependable friend of another young girl on the other hand.
The novel describes a rainbow of relationships , in a traditional rural context of Uttar Pradesh (India) , marked by fights and killings based on caste and history.It also conveys the hold of family in contemporary rural and suburban India.The modern values of the protagonist Panna do not recognize the boundaries of caste and village.Above all , love and truth are eternal and know no barriers of caste, region and long separation.
I like author's style of writing and also the fact that she has chosen to have short chapters.(67 chapters and 185 pages gives an average of 2.8 pages per chapter).There is a thread of innocence , idealism, honesty and trust throughout .There are no loose ends in the story , everything is well knit , leaving virtually nothing to imagination .The dominant role that the writer has chosen to give to destiny in the story, resulting in a happy family reunion ,despite all odds, is typically an Indian value.I quote a few impressive lines from the novel.
"You have made me see how harsh can a life be.How thankful we should be for even small mercies."(Page 146).
"What happened was destiny"(Page 161)
"Betrayal is not something we can take lightly or overlook easily(Page 174).
"After all,theirs was a much less lived a life than many and we wanted them to live the remaining years as completely and fully as they can"(Page 180).
A Life Less Lived reminds us to live life fully , with zest,energy and enthusiasm.If we meet someone who has less lived a life, we may lend him or her help ,support , and trust if we can.Without being a spoiler , let me ask you to go ahead and read this short first novel.