It is truly a joy to read a novel that actually makes you feel like you read something gripping, exciting, fresh and yet entertaining enough that you could continue till the end without losing the motif. Monica Bhide’s latest novel, The Soul Catcher, caught me instantly into the clutches of an experienced storyteller who could use wonderful transitions from one chapter to the next without making the readers feel lost or caught in transitions. Something ends and it begins right from there… yes, you can also read individual chapters as isolated stories accidentally and yet enjoy a little below what you could enjoy if you read the entire novel… and the better if you could get it in one go! The Soul Catcher offers a peculiar story, wonderful and metaphorical characters, relatable emotions and a wonderful conclusion that compels you to think!
The novel begins with Yamini helping someone rest in peace peacefully and getting someone a second chance with his wife. Yes, she is the soul catcher who features in the title – candles, aroma, chanting, mantras and a process that will read as wonderfully as you could have seen it on the screen in a movie… the author has presented things to the readers in a rather elaborated and yet a quick way. Yamini, a woman with powers (or curse) that helps her see things others cannot and do things others cannot even imagine. She transports the soul from one body to another. Ethical? Moral? Righteous? Challenging the Karma chakra? You can get the answers to all these questions once you begin reading the novel and move to the end.
Behind the glimmer of extraordinary power and all this aid to people in grief, a story of loss, grief, pain and emptiness hides somewhere that opens up to the readers in the form of various connected chapters bringing to light the characters in the novel, one after another. You will get to meet Rishi and his tormenting cancer, his desire to end his life in a rather peculiar and lucrative way by riding the train to Nirvana. Does he do it? You will find the story of Ravi and his troubles and how Damini, someone just like Yamini (is she related to her as well), helps her… Damini’s love for Amrit and a lie that sends her away… somewhere into the darkness. The story of a coconut vendor, a dental doctor, a nurse and how things relate to each other will keep the readers excited for more until they get to the end of it…
Rishi is the guy who left Yamini because he discovered her acts and found them immoral or rather troublesome. Now, Rishi and his daughter need help. Will Yamini do it? Will her tattered emotions allow her to save the man who left her alone? This is the conflict that the readers will find out at the end.
Talking in terms of the art of writing and the novel’s qualities, it is indeed engaging, exciting and also written in a manner that seems peculiar and fresh. The novel is nothing like the usual novels we get to read every week… love stories decorated with sizzling descriptions and thrillers loaded with headless chickens walking in all possible directions. Monica Bhide has made a world of her own and Yamini (and many others like her at Astha) are the guardians (or the sufferers) of this world. Well, on the flip side, I can also point out that the author has not given clear details about the times people live in, changes in the society or the overall picture of the world she has tried to paint for her imagination to survive and sustain. Nevertheless, fantasy, realities in terms of emotions, mythology, metaphor and a compelling narrative make the novel not only readable but also wonderful enough to be recommended and shared. I can say this about a novel written by a contemporary writer after many books! Do get a copy and enjoy it!
Review by VishnuG M for BookWorm Reviews
The Soul Catcher: A Novel by Monica Bhide – Book Review
- BookWorm Rating
The Soul Catcher: A Novel by Monica Bhide is a fantasy novel set in a world where a lady can transport souls from one body to another… for what? Why? How? What will it result in? The novel is worth a read and you will certainly enjoy this dark world…