Title: Sonnets to Paradise
Author: Nidra Naik
Publisher: Leadstart publishing
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction
First Publication: 2021
Book Summary: Sonnets to Paradise by Nidra Naik
Sonnets to Paradise is a saga about two female characters who find themselves demarcated in their ordinary mindsets and lives; their monotony and their antiquity. The two characters are not connected by blood or age but by a single piece of poetry manuscript titled, ‘Sonnets to Paradise.’
While Nayantara’s life is dull in her late 30s, mostly alone in the foreign soil of Rickmansworth; Nicola’s life is full of lustful extravagance, momentary romantic escapades, indecisiveness and unsteadiness. On a fateful wintery night, meeting a man full of stoicism and mystery, brings back old memories of Nayantara, so much that it refuels the poetess in her! While the former tries to discover the meaning of her life through her poems, the later engulfs a new, steadfast life by reading them!
This give and take of knowledge and philosophy through poetry changes their lives bit by bit, in a way that both find their imagined ‘happy places’ and stay content through the medium of lyrical words; till they finally accept their lives, it’s challenges and also its joyfulness. They not only mend broken relationships but also breath out love and life!
This book is a contemporary story of two single women in their varied ages, searching for happiness and finally arriving at a peaceful juncture in their lives.
Book Review: Sonnets to Paradise by Nidra Naik
Once in our lives, we should all embark upon a journey and try to really find some answers about who we are, where we come from and where we’ll go. Only an extensive research and quest can be relied upon to help us make an informed decision and help us believe. We all think about life one way or another but only a few know it.
Sonnets to Paradise is about two women living in different places and how they connect by a poetry manuscript. Nayantara Pani is in her late 30s and living alone in Rickmansworth, England. While returning from the work on a chilly night, Nayantara meets a mysterious homeless man at her door step. Meeting this stranger brings back old memories and rekindles the poetess in her. At another place Nicola, a 27 years old widow and a single mother, has her own struggles with life. Nicola is complete opposite to Nayantara, she’s resilient and ambitious yet finding her own way in life.
While writing poetry gave Nayantara’s life a meaning, reading that poetry gave Nicola’s life a new direction. Both were such interesting individuals, opposite in many ways too, but also so adorably compatible. Nayantara, liked to be alone, she was quiet, and passionate at heart, but also had so much feelings hidden deep inside her. Nicola was such a fun person, sassy, witty, pushy at times, and in sync with herself. I loved how Nayantara’s poetry was able to draw Nicola out, again and again. Both, Nayantara and Nicola, really clicked, and completed each other. There was so much heart between them, such a deep connection, but also fear and doubts.
The story is interesting, heart breaking, hopeful and ultimately, amazingly memorable. It has unique perspective towards relationships (romantic, platonic, even those with your parents), struggles to be happy or with unhappiness, fear of rejection and breaking out of your shell, without ever being preachy or cloying. Sonnets to Paradise by Nidra Naik is home to a whole cast of characters that are just trying to understand what they should live for. We all know that life is all about going through silly little experiences. It acknowledges that these painful experiences do shape you and that even happy people have their unhappy secrets.
The writing style is lyrical and beautiful. I liked how different Nayantara and Nicola are and how it’s shown in the writing styles. The best part about this novel is probably the characters, because they all have something interesting about them. Both lead female characters are interesting in their own ways, one because she keeps trying to protect and degrade herself and the other because she craves love so much. I really enjoyed seeing them interact together through poetry.
Although there is romance in this novel, it didn’t feel like the most important thing at all. Dealing with relationships would probably be a more accurate topic, because there’s a lot about that. I think it was done realistically and it adds a nice touch to the story, without being overwhelming. This was a really enthralling book full of love and understanding, showing difficulties that can emerge between people that care for each other very much. There are compassion, forgiveness, friendship, love, kindness, faith which are simple and insightful. This book will grip your heart and will make you more respectful, more loving towards life.
Here is a little poem from the book that expresses the life:
‘Youth, they say, is coated.
Coated with compassion and innocence
With unreserved boundaries of Love,
Where distance seldom falls prey
When all colour of the skin is syrupy
When all physicality of the body
Is united by just one word, ‘Soulfulness!’
Youth, they say, is Freedom,
Freedom to express the sweetest things of life…’