Visions of a Summer Past
Author: Avishek Gupta
Amazon Link: https://amzn.to/359WoRM
When I picked up Avishek Gupta’s debut novel ‘Visions of a Summer Past’, I was intrigued by the title of the book. Half way down this absorbing novel, I had no doubt that Gupta had chosen a befitting title. It is not easy to write a non-linear story with long time leaps, to periodically switch between the past and the present, and to keep the reader engrossed all along the journey. However, full marks to the author for beautifully portraying glimpses of pre-independent India as well as 21st century United States with equal élan.
The fabulous mix of fact and fantasy add an old-world charm to this novel. This is a unique story of magic realism and I don’t want to divulge details, lest you lose the charm. But hat’s off to the author for skilfully switching between timelines like a pro. His attention to detail while elucidating the life in Dhaka is brilliant. Each time the backdrop changes, the author meticulously recreates the setting and the transition appears seamless to the reader.
A fresh plot, neatly drafted characters, and a story that wraps mystical elements intelligently make this an engaging read. You cannot read this book in a hurry. You need to take time to understand and empathise with Prafulla, Asmani, Rohit, and Celeste as they experience a series of life-changing events. The sea of emotions that each character feels is portrayed subtly.
The author’s writing style is poetic and graceful. Understanding the mindset of characters who lived in the 1940s and then interpreting the circumstances in a way that the reader can relate to them is no mean feat! But the author achieves that effortlessly with his vivid imagination and thorough research. Portraying so many different emotions across multiple time leaps through so many characters is incredible.
Though the book does well in its 200 pages, I wish it was a bit longer. I would definitely like to read a sequel to this book.
To sum up, ‘Visions of a Summer Past’ is a heartening tale of love, spiritual bonding, and deep faith. I would recommend this book to all bibliophiles.