Book Review: Leap of Faith

leap of faithA story when penned down has a life of its own. It is like a journey which draws the readers into it. Showing them at every cross road their own reflection in the shades and situations of life. It can be heart whelming, it can be soulful, it can be depressing and it can be disturbing but in the end when the story is fully realized it reveals the meaning of life.

It means taking a leap of faith and believing in the story and the storyteller.

Leap of Faith by Julia Regul Singh is a story about two different cultures coming together and a sour-sweet couple falling in love and taking that big leap, the leap of sealing the bond of love with the vows of marriage with the consent of their respective families. After all marriage is a leap of faith which truly tests the limits of endurance, patience and loyalty.

The story is set in the picturesque city of New York where the handsome, successful Punjabi Andalip Singh shows us his world and its simple autumn beauty.  We are immediately drawn into his bond with his roots and his committed relationship with Christina Von Hoisdorf, a sociology professor at NYU.The only twist in this love-story is the cultural differences and the pre-wedding jitters that we see the couple struggling with throughout the novel. The polished, simple and engaging narrative style travelling through New York, Germany and Delhi grips our attention.

When it comes to the big fat Indian weddings, we Indians cannot hide our overexcitement about it and this is what this story is giving us too.

The title and book cover design really brings out the theme of the novel in the forefront and Rupa publications did a commendable work through this piece of fiction.

The interesting part is that we get to see India, the Punjabi culture, the German Culture and the perception of people abroad about us through the conversations of the various characters who are related to the protagonists in various ways. Family and sentiments attached to relations reign supreme here and it is an emotional ride for us, at times it does become melodramatic. Like any Indian love story where circumstances or family comes in between the lovers and then we have a happy ending, here too things remain the same but the Indo-German love angle gives the plot an extra edge.

It’s a delight to read a multi-cultural romance like this which goes beyond its limits and involves the readers into a roller coaster ride as they start getting acquainted with the protagonists families, their believes and inhibitions towards mixing cultures and coping up with the marriage fiascos.

Andalip is the perfect example of the Indian dream of making it big in a foreign land who is a go getter and a family man. Christina is on the other hand seen going beyond our expectations as she decides to leave her shining career in NYU and move to Delhi after marriage. Not only she tries to fit in being an outsider, she also tries to win everyone’s heart in Andalip’s family specially his aging dadi, Manpreet who believes that cultures should never mix while choosing a spouse.

Christina keeps us glued to the story as she wraps up her memories in Ney York City and shifts to Germany for a month to spend time with her overexcited family and friends about the marriage. She meets and greets her relations and tells them what India is in real.

 “This is pretty much my life right here packed up in these suitcases” she thinks sadly.

Her journey to Delhi is exhausting as she finds herself often loosing control of things going around her, the extravagant Sikh wedding, the ceremonies, the misunderstanding, the commitments, and the expectations she has to fulfill. At times the story seems to be a reflection of the author, Julia’s experiences set in India and Germany.

We like the way Andalip takes charge in difficult situations, romances Christina’s in his dashing style and stands by his decision to go against his traditions and marry a white gori. He is the most sensible man in the entire family after his father and keeps calming Christina in her times of distress. Even if he loses his cool he gathers himself back and takes the necessary steps.

Christina’s bother in law, Berndt’s outburst on their family attending the wedding back in the unsafe, poor, polluted and backwards India shows the stereotypical notions but when we hear it’s also known for its beauty, hospitality and colourful cultures through curiosities of Fiona, Christina’s niece and adults like Herr Schmidt who addressed India as a developed country we see the changing concepts about countries in a global village like our world.

The comic undertone breaks the seriousness in the story which often leads to monotony. Characters like Andalip’s sisters Preeti and Jazz, Christina’s friend Purnima, sister Frauke, father Michale are equally pleasing. We bet once you get to know them, this story would become a part of your lives too.

Title: Leap of Faith
Author: Julia Regul Singh
Publisher/ Imprint: Rupa Publications
Pages: 288
Genre/ Sub-Genre: Fiction/ Drama
Rating: 3.50 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

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