WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
October 2018 turned out to be a really good month for me in terms of reading. Just like the month started with a really interesting book, so did it end on a highly satisfying note. The last one was Damini Kane’s The Sunlight Plane.
It is a book that surprised me as a reader and in this review, I tell you all the reasons as to why this might be just the book that you are looking for.
What to expect?
The Sunlight Plane is not one of your regular reads. It’s difficult to compartmentalize it into a narrow genre because the book is just so many things all at once. I guess it will be safe to say that the book can be broadly termed as a drama which deals with issues like child abuse, childhood trauma, and bullying.
It tells us the story of two children but it is not a book meant for children. What is refreshing is that it is as much about the joys of childhood, as much as it is about the vulnerability of it.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Nine-year-old Tharush is reserved, shy and highly observant. You can’t really place him as an introvert but he does like to keep his circle small and even his limited number of friends are kept at a safe distance.
He is a dreamer and he likes to think of stories in his head that transform those around him. Between aliens, fighter planes, and sky pirates, his favourites are airplanes, and he has an entire fleet of them dedicated to his battle games.
Into the much-guarded world of Tharush enters Aakash, a guy who comes to reside in the same residential complex as Tharush.
Much to his amazement finds himself opening up to him. The duo soon become good friends as they both have a penchant for stories.
But while stories are dreamy and childlike, Aakash’s stories are dark and morbid. His stories are not really stories but lies that just keep piling up until one day he opens up about them.
But, the ugly secrets that they now share threatens the very essence of their childhood – freedom and innocence.
How good are the characters?
The characters in The Sunlight Plane are few and good. and Aakash are the most important ones but there are also others that matter in their story – the doting parents of , the seemingly indifferent father of Aakash, the chatty group of Andy, Siraj and Nikita in school, the talented and highly posh Tasleem, and the cruel and vicious Vikram and his bunch of cronies.
All the characters live up to the expectations of the reader and they all have a certain depth about them. It is quite evident that a lot of thinking and effort has gone into creating each one of them.
What about the author’s writing style?
The book is written in a mix of conversational and descriptive style. I like how the meaning of the title is very subtle and mildly aspirational. More than anything it reflects the dreams and aspirations of two young boys who have already seen a lot more than they should have.
I love how and the fantasy tales of are an ongoing theme throughout the book. But, most of all I love the very understated yet indestructible friendship that exists between the two.
The emotional upheavals of a childhood scarred by bullying and abuse is also very perceptibly described in the book.
The author’s love for descriptions and attention to detail is quite evident when she very passionately describes Mumbai and its many avatars. Be it the horrific heat of the summers, the torrential rain of the monsoons or the non-existent cold of the winters – this is a Mumbai described to perfection.
I also quite enjoyed Tharush and his love for skies – what he sees and what he aspires to be. The story starts and ends with skies and that was such a good way to present it.
The entire book felt like a sky sandwich (bad analogy but hey, I am just a reviewer) with the story neatly packed in between the many folds of skies.
The strong theme
What strikes you the most about The Sunlight Plane is the often neglected but nevertheless highly relevant social theme – bullying, childhood trauma and child abuse.
These three themes bind the book together and the consequences of having their toxic presence in the life of today’s children are discussed in detail in the book.
One doesn’t really need an introductory course in these to understand what they are and what they mean for a child, and yet, these are things that are more often than not invisible to the plain eye.
Often those who are the closest to a child have no idea what is going on in his or her life. The Sunlight Plane urges one to take note, to step up and help and to save a child in distress. The moral obligation is upon the adults of the world to make sure that a is not snatched away too soon.
Was the climax good enough?
The Sunlight Plane ends on a satisfactory note. There wasn’t a really a great deal of creativity put into penning down the climax but it does give a befitting end to the story of Aakash and .
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
When it comes to the entertainment quotient, the book has enough of it for me to recommend it to all my readers.
It is true that the book tends to be a little slow in certain places but that doesn’t really take away anything from it. By the time you come to the end of it, you will be basking in the glory of having read a satisfying book and having discovered an author to watch out in the future.
Pick up the book
- If you want to read something really different and fresh.
- If you like discovering new Indian authors and their works because buying their book and reading it goes a long way in promoting promising debut authors.
- If you are looking for a book which talks about strong social issues like child abuse and bullying.
- And finally, because it’s a great debut novel.
Skip the book
- If you don’t like slow reads.
- If you don’t like dramas.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of The Sunlight Plane using the link below.