Book Review: Faraway Music

Part of Debut Indian Writers Challenge 2013


Life is a strange dilemma… a superhighway which keeps on moving; no one knows where and a path which does not have a return address. Faraway Music is a story about life… a journey into the world of dreams and aspirations, of love and loss, of yearning and fulfillment… and much more. Largely autobiographical, the novel explores the depths of emotions and relationships through the experiences of the protagonist Piya Chowdhury.

The novel  begins with anticipation a young journalist looks to interview renowned  writer Piya Choudhury  on a long international flight  and finds herself  listening to the life story of the writer herself!  The action of the novel runs back and forth in time creating  dream-like images in the minds of the readers. Piya grows up in a mansion in Kolkata under the protective care of her mother and grandparents. Though haunted at times by the mysterious absence of her father she leads a normal adolescent life with all her crushes and impetuous overtures. A shattering experience with a young man she was infatuated with urges her to seek a different path of life and she moves to Mumbai. She works as a journalist in a completely new environment and slowly finds herself falling deeply in love with her editor Abir Sen. Tarun or TT is another significant character whom she finds roguishly very attractive. An incident regarding a controversial story however leaves her disillusioned and she chooses a new chapter to begin her life once again. She surfaces in New York as the wife of globally renowned artist David Cicconi with whom she finds creative companionship. The rest of the novel finds Piya once again in Kolkata and life comes full circle.. or so it seems…

The story spans Mumbai and Kolkata capturing the quintessence of both  the cities and yet moves across continents and cultures. The characters of taxi driver Karim and the multi- dimensional TT or the fashionable Mamma or the complex Abir stay with us even after we close the book. Karim, as the Mumbai taxi driver is an unique character. He has almost become a symbol for Mumbai and the way in which he guides and assists Piya and her mother makes him out to be a father figure more so because he has lost his only son in a bomb blast. The author has written with total abandon the intimacies of relationships which makes the characters flesh and blood. The imagery and words used add to the dream-like yet real fabric of the novel. Faraway Music does carry us far away, into the realms of sublime consciousness.

There are books which engage us for a short time and some which touch our hearts. Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s novel lingers on in our hearts even after we have finished reading the book. It is lyrical and very very feminine. Though not a feminist statement, it does reveal an underlying feminine consciousness.

A piercing insight into human emotions, Faraway Music is a wonderful debut creative endeavour.

Publisher: Hachette India
Pages: 340
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 3.75 of 5
Reviewed for: Publisher

Browse through the full list of book reviews in the depths of the Pensieve.

Fastest way to read this