WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Death is not only when people cease to exist in the world. It is also when you die inside but you put up an appearance which resembles the living. – Ruvindra Sathsarani, Sorrow That You Keep
There are books which win your heart, not because of a great plotline but because they are written well. Their magic lies in the words that their authors pen, but unfortunately the takers for such books are really few. Often when good writing is combined with a mediocre plot it doesn’t really become a compelling read; however, if you are a lover of beautiful words, Sorrow That You Keep will appeal to you in a very subtle way like it appealed to me.
What to expect?
Sorrow That You Keep is a short read which can also be called a novella. Just under 80 pages, it manages to indulge the reader in a way many other books fail to. The wisdom and maturity this book boasts of are bound to leave many readers thinking. It is that book which you read not for entertainment but for its life lessons. It tells the story of two individuals whose life has gone off the rails in a mechanical world which does not interest them anymore.
There are two main characters in this book – Avi and Sue. Avi is a man who is contradictory in his manners. He is somebody who doesn’t talk much and doesn’t expect much. He doesn’t believe in relationships and is never bothered by the lack of company. As a young man, he was passionately patriotic; he wanted to change the world but as the years went by, he realized that life takes its own course and change, after all, doesn’t come by easily.
Sue is an independent young woman who leaves the familiar terrain of Sri Lanka behind to chart her own course in a land known for its architectural beauty – Rome. As Sue spends more and more time in the country she starts coming to terms with its vibrant culture and multi-hued persona.
Avi and Sue were close once upon a time. They used to bask in each other’s company until life led them to separate paths. As time progressed their careers ensured that they never got together, even if in their hearts they still loved one another. Sorrow That You Keep is the story of love and separation captured beautifully in a language which is soothing to the mind and melodious to the heart.
The characters are what appealed to me the most in this book. The two main characters are distinct from each other and yet so similar on the most basic level. They both are living the lives that they carved out for themselves, even when they both wish things were different. I like the way their emotions, fear, loneliness and, their insecurities are so lucidly articulated in the book. There are other characters too – Sue’s Mom and Dad, Avi’s Mom and others who are all very well portrayed.
The writing style of the author
Ruvindra Suthasarani’s writing style needs improvement in terms of making the story interesting and fast-paced. Even though the writing is eloquent, the lack of a good storyline doesn’t work well for the book. I liked the way the stories of Avi and Sue’s past play an important role in shaping up their characters. This is definitely the case with most books but in Sorrow That You Keep, it is quite vividly captured.
Another thing to look forward to is the story of Sue’s mother and father. Ruvindra tells us how dysfunctional families have far-reaching consequences in the lives of its children. I also liked the way the author gives voice to the insecurities which brown people face in white countries.
The climax of the book is decent. Just like the beginning, which starts on an unexpected and shocking note, the climax is a little surprising too. The story gets a befitting end even though there were a few loopholes which required plugging.
I got to read the pdf version of the book and the formatting, font size, font type really enhanced the reading pleasure. Now, there were a couple of editing mistakes here and there but they were only a few and can be ignored.
The Entertainment Quotient
As already stated in the previous paragraphs, Sorrow That You Keep doesn’t offer much in terms of entertainment quotient. The lack of a good plot and a solid storyline makes this book a rather dull read but is somewhat compensated by the author’s beautiful writing.
Pick the book if
If you enjoy short reads.
If you like sad stories.
If you like thought-provoking reads.
Skip the book if
You don’t like books that aren’t entertaining.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Sorrow That You Keep using the link below.