WRITING STYLE: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
The title of the book has both the things I love – letters and bookstore! It tends to draw attention to the book.
Adding to this is the book cover which is colourful and vibrant. Also, I like the thought that went into the cover art – the cassette is the centrepiece that emphasises the crucial station of music in the lives of the characters of the story.
Moreover, as Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore is said to be the first musical novel, the importance of this device makes sense. I liked the idea of putting the silhouettes of a girl and a boy on the cassette that emphasises on the story of love and friendship that accompanies the lyrical narration.
Coming to the plot, the book narrates the story of Rajvir who starts receiving sweet handwritten notes among the pages of books he buys. It is from an unknown well-wisher and contains optimistic messages that further changes Rajvir’s perspective towards life.
He tries to contact the person behind these letters of love and positivity and finds himself falling for the letter-writer as they continue to share things they love and remember.
Also, there is Taashvi, an independent and enthusiastic woman, who joins Rajvir in his business and seems to have a similar impact on his life as the letter-writer. The question arises as to who Rajvir will choose as his life partner.
Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore mainly contains interactions between Rajvir,
There were some nostalgic moments; the Phantom Sweet Cigarettes is something that my mother mentions everytime while reminiscing about her childhood. To actually see the packet of the aforementioned product actually excited my mother and me.
Similarly, both the main characters talk about Tazos (that I still have a collection of) and of Floppy Disks and Slam Books that I could easily relate to.
There was discussion over Punjabi Pop songs and Vengaboys among others, but after some time it felt repetitive as if Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore is an album of memories – back to the 90s; as if the characters were obsessed with the art and dexterity of the past.
The chats between the two characters resembled the real-life virtual chatting phenomenon but there was a lot of appreciation in the messages, that is, the main characters could not stop praising each other which I found almost too sweet.
Moreover, I almost guessed the climax after reading the blurb and I was not wrong. It was mostly because people often hear similar incidents in real life. So, there was the absence of an unpredictable and strong climax. Overall, the entertainment quotient is decent.
Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore is a good attempt to discuss past as well as emerging music genres and styles and the impact of music on the minds of the people; it is
The emphasis on the simplicity of life and the discussion of the role of neuroscience related to music added to the appeal of the book. The presentation of the book – the cover, the blurb, the font, page quality etc. is very good and so getting your expectations up is all but natural.
But a word of caution – Handwritten Letters in the Bookstore is a book which will appeal to select readers – readers who are interested in 90s Indi-pop and still remember the sweet and carefree 90s.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy using the link below.