TAG[BOOKREVIEWSTART] Pseudo Phil: Moans of a Broken Heart, Hussain Sadam, English, 106, Self-published(Notion Press),1648059945 TAG[BOOKREVIEWEND]
An honest confession first, as a reader I have not been too much interested in fiction novels, romantic genre in particular lately. There is a reason for that. I believe that personal relationships are almost defined threadbare and there is hardly any new stream or thread that contemporary authors pick up to write upon. I would differ in the present case as I still don’t know if I am qualified to present an honest and true review of the debut novel, ‘Pseudo Phil: Moans of a Broken Heart’, by Sadam Hussain. I will try my best to present a picture and perhaps frame about the book and what makes it unique.
First of all, about the author, Sadam Hussain is a young Kashmiri writer (if 25 years qualifies to be called as young as these days a pile of books by even teenagers make it to the book stands). The book, ‘Pseudo Phil: Moans of a Broken Heart’, as the author declares is dedicated to a girl he has been in love with and who sadly has been the source for personal troubles and miseries to the writer. It offers first-person view of young love and somewhat mismatched expectations that arise mostly because of innocence, inexperience and immaturity. The book has in fact a simple plot revolving around a romantic relationship but filled with some sort of sadistic pleasure if it can be called so. It is typical, yet that is what makes it different as very few writers in Kashmir have ever gone to the extent of writing about a personal relationship even if it is the same old oft repeated story.
The book has been self-published by the author, may not be available like other books on stands, and the wishful reader will have to get in touch with the author.
About the contents and character of the book, there are both pluses and minuses that one immediately finds after reading few pages. The most important being the character of the book, although it lacks complete development of the characters and sequence in which different events take place, but at the same time it reflects that the author must have struggled a lot to write down the anecdotes. The story starts like the clichéd ‘love at first sight’ and ends with the hope of overcoming the sense of loss and grief due to a failing relationship. The author doesn’t seem to be even decisive about its end.
The book, written in five chapters, would have been better had the publishing house paid more attention in developing its content and correcting it for language flaws. That is a big minus. But literature and art are such subjects that are more about evoking response even in raw ingredients than have mathematical precision. The dominating subjects in the entire book are longing and personal suffering. The latter first, in the book the protagonist cries through entire episodes or the stages of the relationship so much that it is difficult to say that he is ever happy. At the same time, the other character or beloved of the author whom he calls ‘mango’ because that’s what how she likes to be called, is not much defined. The author has kept all that a mystery and not made any attempt to reveal by conjecture. So it is left entirely to the reader to keep guessing about the dream girl of the author, what she likes, what she does and why she does it. The proximity of the two characters is also definitive. While the beloved is shackled to this place, Kashmir, which she loves, the protagonist keeps moving in and out of the former state. His temporary stint, because of fulfilling academic dream, at Dehradun is also devoid of joy that such a place could have brought had the relationship worked in the way he expected.
Like the character ‘mango’ which somehow is linked with the idea of raw innocence, there is an overall layer of innocence in the story wrapped in ignorance and inexperience while dealing with a relationship. The details in the book are quite interesting and very much typical, like it starts in a computer institute. The authenticity of the story is further furnished with details like exact names of places, colleges and dates in academic years. The story is like thousands of those that are never written but at one point of time define the personality and development of the young people here. Here is one who not only wrote about the story, about his suffering and thwarted passion, about his suicidal tendency following a failed relationship but provide us with details like dates and all. It could be that the author may have maintained a personal diary and its adaptation resulted in his debut novel.
The actual book is not lengthy, about 130 pages and some 35000 words, all of which present the fateful tale of the author and his beloved. The author may lack such skills like language and creativity in presenting the story in a more palatable form, but it being raw the book is devoid of human manipulations, meaning the story is as it is presented. Any fiction element might spoil it for that matter.
As we get from the book, two young people fall in love, which latter on proves to be a one-sided affair than a relationship based on reciprocal feelings. It is all about feelings, and mostly of the one who has taken the pain of writing it. There are no extra twists in the plot or any unexpected turn of events. The five chapters are concise – Our First Encounter, Those Happy Days, Happiness Eclipsed, Dying Daily, Rise Of Hope. From their names alone a reader has a good idea about the whole book.
In plusses, the credit goes to the author to make the attempt and be committed about writing it all and getting it published. However, the entire story line could have been developed further with minor touches and details. Language being no bar in creative field, the idea is most probably original and has the least defects. It reflects a plain black and white persona, a polar thinking about only two choices love and rejection, life and death, happiness and an extreme state of sadness and grief. It is realistic and a good read provided the reader is ready to deal with a mundane subject that doesn’t have any manipulative imperfections.