PLOT: 4.5/5 CHARACTERS: 4/5 WRITING STYLE: 4/5 CLIMAX: 4.5/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 5/5
“Love is a miracle, and miracles happen through love. We are here to experience and spread only joy and love. Anything that comes in the path of love and divine success should be destroyed without fear or guilt” – these words succinctly sum up the evocative story of Mooncircles.
The title is catchy and unique. Scientifically, and quite literally, the moon orbits around the Earth, but on its specific axis that makes it appear still to the inhabitants of Earth. This makes the moon a discreet but constant image in human life. The moon has many phases and so does life. However, the moon has its own beauty in each phase, and so does life. It is seen only to those who can look past the darkness.
While the term ‘moon circle’ may refer to a group of people, particularly women, who come out in the open during the evening to harness the energy of the moon, the plural in the title of this novel is significant on two levels. The first refers to the circles that one engages in, which charge the individual with energy that is rejuvenating and restorative from the usual tedium of life.
Secondly, it adds a circularity to the text that indicates a reconciliatory end is bound to occur at some point or the other after the plot is unleashed. This hints at loose ends to be tied up meaningfully in a form that makes for an enticing and one-of-a-kind read on women, love, life, and sisterhood.
The book cover is a mix of gothic and romantic elements with the predominance of the colour blue which is often symbolic of peace, prosperity, and mystery. The cover, stands for the two female protagonists Shreya, and Rushali, who are trying to make their way through the chaos and confusion in their lives. Similarly, the back cover has the blackened silhouette of a man worshipping the moon, hinting at the character of Samar.
The clues about the many facets of the plot lie in the subtitle of the book – Mooncircles: As the Night Unravelled. While the idea of the novel germinated in the holy city of Rishikesh, the plot is rather jumpy and pans across different locales which is also the reality behind the construction process of the plot that travelled with its writers across Bengaluru, Vishakhapatnam, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Dharamshala. The plot traverses five decades and across several locales in India and the USA, before finally intensifying into the drama that pans out in Bengaluru.
However, what remains ever engaging about the plot is the fast pace, racy scenes, and rapid twists and turns that make it highly unpredictable. Additionally, the backdrop of the novel has references to many events and incidents that truly happened in the politics of India. The multiple climaxes create a terribly exciting effect that haunts the reader with an otherworldly effect.
While the success of their debut novel Triptease propelled India’s leading collaborative fiction novelists to pen this book, Mooncircles: As the Night Unravelled can very much be read independently and still make perfect sense. It has that thunderous blend of terror, political drama, romance, erotica, and thriller that is clubbed with a spiritual angle, which raises several phenomenological aspects and questions that continue to follow the reader till the end of the text.
The night is an important symbol in the novel and it unravels many secrets, provides an alternative space in contrast to the daytime, and occurs in equal intervals of time to prove the circular nature of day and night. It is in this mysterious nature of the night that the moon beams to highlight hope, and abundance, and shed light on beauty as John Keats reflects, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”
Mooncircles: As the Night Unravelled captures this essence of beauty that is equally soul-stirring, mysterious, and explosive of life and its many facets like love, passion, politics, sex, and betrayal which shape the two female protagonists, Shreya and Rushali. These two women are on their individual journeys in life, and they are forced to come together by a common force.
The characterization is hauntingly beautiful. The characters are vulnerable, passionate, deep feelers, and equally deep thinkers. They are modern characters who are caught in the web of modernity while trying to get in touch with their ancient roots, their family legacies, their patriotic fervor, and cultivate self-love to endure the difficulties of the modern hollow materialistic world. The character of Samar is highly intriguing. He is a stock market wizard who sets out to make a name for himself in the world of spirituality.
Many aspects of the novel are astonishing and exciting at the same time. Highly descriptive, racy, and beautiful, the writing style does not use very difficult vocabulary making the text easy to follow. However, the multiple movements in the narrative perspective, the change of locations, and the tightening of the pace as the murky world of politics is evoked, can be a difficult read for the beginner.
The book can be easily followed by an intermediate-level reader and will be devoured by voracious readers who particularly enjoy genres like political drama or thriller. At 251 pages, the novel is a lengthy though suspenseful read.
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