Songs of the Mist, the first book in The Monk Key series, is a spiritual/literary fiction written by my author friend Shashi. Since I have never read a book in this genre, I was curious to read this.
“Death is not the destruction of your body or the flowing stream, but the merging of your dreams, desires, sorrow and anger into an eternal calm of eternity.”
There is an all-knowing but simple monk, there is Ashutosh who has been guided by the monk for many years and becomes a monk himself, there is Ayan who seeks answers for his scientific problems but takes the path of spirituality to find those answers, there is Yogini Anishka who takes up Yoga to heal her pain but ends up choosing spirituality as a way of life, there is the mysterious Kyaka, and then there is Calliope.
When the lives of all these people intersect in interesting ways, Songs of the Mist is born 🙂
“Being weak is not denying life, but a design that can probably let you survive. Sometimes our weakness is strength.”
What I liked the most about this book is the visual detailing by the author. When he is describing a scene, he makes it come real. Combine that with wonderful prose and you get a good literary fiction.
Something else that struck me in this book was the characterization and the unexpected ways in which the characters’ lives intersect with one another.
“Love is basically a very selfish emotion. It takes away your own control to be happy, within your own self, through your need for the other person to make you happy and selfish. It takes away the freedom to be happy or to even be sad.”
The philosophy in this book is quite heavy. It can be a plus or minus depending on your age and maturity level. I liked the way philosophy was presented as intelligent dialogues, but I still feel the author could have kept it short and focused more on the story. However, considering that philosophy is the key of “The Monk Key”, I can’t really complain!
It’s a nice book if you like to read in this genre.
Who do you think is the tribal girl Kyaka?
I think the tribal girl is a figment of the imagination of the lead character Ashutosh. Since he is feeling lonely and terribly upset, he creates such a comforting character in his mind and feels comforted by her presence now and then. This is just a guess, but a hint to this effect has been provided by the author himself at the end 🙂