WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
CLIMAX: 3 /5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
I remember it was the summer of 1996; my aunt was newly married and still living with us when her tall, dark, handsome knight in shining armor came to stay with us (read stay with her) for two weeks. It was a different era and for the newly married it was the only way of spending time together. Much to the displeasure of our aunt, we children always swarmed our newly instituted family member as his tales from his long spent childhood in the North East (especially Sikkim and Mizoram) always fascinated us. We used to keep demanding more and more and every single time he would excitingly oblige us with a tale so intriguing that we would be left reflecting and wondering about it whole day long. When I read this book, it was the exact same world that I found myself in after 16 years. The beauty of Sikkim comes alive and lures you to its tranquil valleys and peaks. The author writes beautifully and the reader is left mesmerized, marveling at the beauty of the writing and the place written about.
The King’s Harvest is a compilation of two short novellas – An Open and Shut Case and The King’s Harvest. Both stories are unique in nature and the only similarity shared by the two is the place they are been written about. ‘An open and shut case’ is the story of a young woman Kamala, who murders her husband Constable Puran and hacks him into 47 different pieces. She then collects her daughters and goes go the local police station and then surrenders.
The case at the first superficial glance seems easy enough but a look at the intricacies reveal much more than is actually revealed by mere facts. In between Kamala’s story, a foul mouthed officer DC Ochen, and a Nepali song loving foreigner Straun, are caught involuntarily and their stories interwoven beautifully. The plot is beautifully complimented with the magic of the evergreen Nepali song – Resham Firiri. I could not help googling the song and humming it, even though the not-so-inspiring-meaning of its lyrics were revealed much early in the book.
The second story, The King’s Harvest, is from where the book derives its title. The story is equally enchanting, if not better, than its previous counterpart. The story is of a man, Tontem, who being derided by everybody because of his peculiar looks (particularly his devilishly large ears) decides to spend his life in a remote and desolate land. This land, where not a single living soul lives, is one where no roads, no electricity runs and where the only company Tontem has is the bi-annual visit of Kaila Sardar for the purpose of collecting the King’s share of harvest.
After following the unwritten arrangement for almost 28 years, Kaila Sardar goes missing for 3 years. The crops have started to rot and the granaries are full to its brim. Tontem is upset and finally decides to go out for the first time in the last 32 years and find out what has gone wrong. But all that he had hoped for has changed; the kingdom is not the place it once was and Tontem is due to receive the shock of his life as he will come to terms with what has happened since his long exile from the regular world.
The King’s Harvest is wonderful in every aspect and is an excellent masterpiece by the debut author. Just one sentence recommendation to all you guys – GO READ IT NOW..!!