Kintsugi by Anukrti Upadhyay
Publisher: Fourth Estate India
Price: Rs. 499 INR(Hardcover), Rs. 189 INR(Kindle Edition)
Buy here: https://amzn.to/3dfvbCN
My take on the book:
Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese way of mending broken objects using gold; the novel is about women, and men, broken but waiting to find the gold that can mend them, make them complete. Haruko arrives in Jaipur to learn from the sunars of Johri Bazar the traditional method of hand-made jewelry; as she hones her talent by meticulously designing and making unique pieces, she crosses path with Prakash, doctor at the local government hospital. Prakash has been waiting for his fiancé and next-door neighbor Meena to return from Japan after completing her research work.
However, Meena who was known to be stubborn from childhood, refuses to fit into the norms her mother and Prakash’s family want her to confirm to, as she finds solace and peace in Japan and her new acquaintance Yuri. Yuri has her own longing for the mountains, for unrequited love of her mother.
While in Jaipur, Haruko finds her master Munnaji’s daughter Leela inquisitive, with a natural flair for design and deft hands, slowly teaches her the basics and encourages her; but this aspiration of Leela to follow her family’s ancestral profession is considered a sin by the people around her, as jewelry making was to be passed on only to the male heirs of the family.
And then there is Hajime, who longs for belonging, as he struggles to fit into both New York and Japan — never accepted, always standing out as a stranger. Moving between Jaipur and Japan, Kintsugi narrates the story of these strong, rebellious, undeterred women who refuse to fit into societal norms, as they long to mend their broken hearts and souls.
The name of the novel is used as a metaphor for describing the characters of the story, as each part of the book is dedicated for one character and their journey. The author has brilliantly added multiple layers to these characters which are revealed as the story progresses; the process of jewelry making in Jaipur or the scenic Japan, are synonymous to the characters and their traits, which goes deep into exploring each of them. Even the type of jewelry being made, the situations faced for each of them, like Haruko’s broken leg are a metaphor for their emotions.
The reader travels to each of the locations in the story with the author adding even minute details — the narrow lanes of Jaipur filled with aroma of street food, the cherry blossoms, misty mountains in Japan, the turtle watching beaches. The cover design is aesthetic at it closely captures the essence of the story; the conversations between all the characters are deep. Meena as we see her while she narrates her story is different from the Meena Prakash perceives her to be — the various layers to a character are explored by the author through other character’s eyes.
A story of love, loss, and belonging, Kintsugi is a must read — for its strong characters, lyrical prose, and the immersive narration style.
This review is part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program. https://www.theblogchatter.com/book-review-program-from-blogchatter
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