Author: Harshita Nanda
Xanadu is a sensitive portrayal of the harsh realities and the sweet redemption following the life arc of 3 people; lonely and struggling and finding succour in their companionship.
A young girl is living a simple life surrounded by nature and the love of her parents. An earthquake destroys her home and changes her life forever.
A young boy is struggling with the loss of his mother. As a reward for honesty, he gets a step up in life but has to leave behind all that is familiar.
An old lady lives alone, surrounded by memories and whispers of the past.
What is the link between the three?
Where is their Xanadu?
About the Author
Harshita Nanda is an avid reader and a lover of the written word. A chance win at a short story competition ignited the writing spark in her. Starting from book reviews, she moved on to writing short stories and dabbling in flash fiction. Xanadu is her first time attempting a novella.
Miss Anita, a vivacious, beautiful Anglo Indian, who has everything when it comes to material possessions and love, sees a turn of tides. The partition of India changes her world and opportunities. To her lonely existence comes Bhoomi, a young girl who has been uprooted from her home in the hills because of an earthquake that destroyed their home and took away her father. The child finds a kindly and maternal figure in Miss Anita as she navigates a hostile time with her relatives. Harish is the troubled and mischievous boy, whose father has brought him to the big town for the treatment of his wife who passes away.
Emotionally scarred, the three seek out each other’s company. But fate’s twists separates them as they go their ways in search of better lives. Will they be happy? Can they ever be reunited?
Right from the first page, I was engrossed in the story that felt familiar in a way, for it spoke of the people I have seen growing up. The young children, their parents, their extended families and societal reactions, the insights of the author are commendable.
The places, the hills, the villages and the towns where much of the story is set radiated a warmth. There is a depth to the detailing of the setting, no matter which the place is. I could feel at ease whether it was the village or the gardens of large houses, an army officer’s residence or even New York.
The characters in the book are very relatable. The protagonists have been sketched out so well; one can understand their thoughts and emotions and their life choices. Their struggles are unfortunate but I could understand all the situations.
The story arc is developed in an excellent way. Even though the story spans decades, you never lose touch of the emotional turmoil of the characters.
Xanadu is a novella of beauty and emotional depth. Spanning lifetimes, decades and places, it’s a heartwarming story of ties that may not be familial but that bind and comfort.
The book is available for free download here.
This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.