Blurb: Born in the lush mountains of Dalhousie in 1930, Shakuntala is a pampered child of a wealthy builder. On her wedding night she is gifted a secret to use wisely when the time comes. From the green valleys of Dalhousie to a village in Punjab reeling under the communal violence of 1947; from the Delhi of 1950s with its intoxicating smell of freedom to the Delhi of 1970s soaked in the hippie culture; from the Delhi of 1984 smelling of burnt tyres to the Delhi of 90s raising its Frankenstein of urbanization, the cancerous secret breathes with her, infects her. It is accidentally passed down, hidden under insecurities and jealousies, locked in its meaninglessness and leaving a trail of ruin.
When her great- grandson accidentally discovers the secret in 2065, he is perplexed by the malice that flowed in his family’s blood. Was it just the secret or his family would have destroyed itself even in its absence? Why was their love never greater than their unsaid expectations from each other.
About the author: Amit Sharma’s first fiction book titled False Ceilings has been published by Lifi Publications. The book launch happened on 12 Jan 2016 in the World Book Fair in Delhi. Amit has been working in a Software Firm since the last ten years. He lives with his family in NCR. His wife is a teacher and they are blessed with a daughter who is in her terrible twos. Amit always keeps a book and a portable reading light in his bag (much to the amusement of his fellow travelers). His other hobbies include watching world cinema, travelling, digging into various cuisines, cooking, listening to music, painting, blogging, making his daughter laugh and helping his wife with her unnecessary and prolonged shopping.
Review: A family chronicle, in the 1920s to 2060s between inter-linked incidents and characters. The protagonist, Shakuntala, has seen from the freedom struggle, to the partition, to the world wars, to the 1984 riots. The weakness and susceptibility of human hearts and minds is brought out very well by the author. The legacy of mindless fears, insecurities and jealousies among generations has been showcased strongly. Aaryan, to the female characters- Radha Devi, to Shakunthala, to Meena, to Lipi were well written. The author’s description of Delhi in the pre to the post-independence era is worth citing. The simple and steady lives in the hills of Dalhousie are beautifully described and the characters from the various eras connected to it in some way or the other. Aaryan kept me hooked on with his craze for ‘If-Then-Else’ statements. The mystery of the secret passed on between generations through the false ceiling is well-kept. This book was a very motivating and fascinating. I would say False Ceilings has a secret not to be missed. It is not every day that you read a book that keeps you glued without the slightest hint of how the characters are finally going to fit into the puzzle, finally completing it. There are analogous stories and then there are consistent characters. A truly enjoyable read.
The book was received as part of Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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