First of all thanks to Blogadda for this opportunity and the patience they have showed. I feel terrible that I could not complete my review in the time they had requested. My work and personal commitments + travel took up most of my time in the last month. These are the most busy times at work and I found it difficult to devote time to the book and then write the review.
I volunteered for the program with intention of getting back to blogging + increasing my reading which has slackened severely in the last few years. I envy those who can manage work, travel, and finish books in the time one takes to finish off biscuits. When Blogadda tweeted about wanting bloggers residing in Europe to be part of the book review, I decided to volunteer , wondering what the topic of the book would entail.
The premise of Harp by Nidhi Dalmia seemed very interesting. The setting in the late 60s – a time when India was in teens and her young generation was eager to seek adventure in the western world. The young breaking free from the norm and the age old traditions. A rebellious streak, a daring to try something anew and nursing a fearless craving to travel the world. The setting Europe – which has some of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Ashok the protagonist , born in an educated business family, joins his father’s Dairy products factory soon after college. He is the only son with two sisters and enjoys many privileges compared to his sisters, given the attitude of parents & society to sons vs.. Girls. Much against his parent’s wishes, he earns his scholarships and ventures out to Europe, to intern at different dairy companies. And on this journey, he encounters many a romantic adventures.
This is where my interest stopped, I waited for Ashok’s character to build up, his romantic affairs, the build up to meeting different women on his journey, establishing a reason to get together, his struggles in the new land, far away from the comforts of home or his relationships with his parents and sisters. I barely read through 30% of the book – neither did the language work for me nor the characters; I kept waiting for the story to take a turn.
Europe has some of the most picturesque towns and cities and I was most disappointed that the author did not manage to bring alive the beauty of the surroundings in her book. I kept craving for the minor details that would paint the romantic setting associated with most places in Europe. The writing was immature , where the story had a stop-start-stop-start narrative. The sentences felt cut and there seemed no flow from one sentence to the other. If this was a first attempt, it surely needed lots of editing. Ashok’s character seemed weak, more driven by lust than love or genuine attraction. His interests were randomly established and just felt forced when he met the women. I did not feel any connection or curiosity to what happens next with the central characters.
I did try my best to give this book a shot to complete but I just could not. If the book is good, you will find a way from the busy schedules to complete it but sadly Harp did not motivate me enough to finish it. I hope the next books I volunteer to read for this program manage to hold my interest for a longer time than Harp did.