Flight of the Hilsa Book Review

Flight of the Hilsa Book Review

This is the second book by that I have read by Amit Shankar and I like his writing style more and more. The ideas he has expressed through the struggle, rise and fall of Avantika are indeed deep and thought provoking. The character and flaws of Avi, her self-absorption, her denial, her struggle and liberation are all worded expertly with a taut narration.

At all times we are trying to fit in, shine and succeed. All the trivial yet paradoxically hyped things we humans yearn for. We have love, we want more. We have money, we want more. We have fame, we want more. Life for all of us is searching and yearning for that little bit extra. Slowly but surely the writing and story grows upon the reader. Involving and absorbing us. Making us realize that all of us have a little bit of Avantika, a little bit of Sunny and Captain within us.

Amit Shankar has done a remarkable job of expressing all our angst and yearning of youth through Avantika, she is the Hilsa, her journey is like that of a Hilsa, her story is reminiscent of the trials and tribulations faced by many an artist. The author has explored all the facets of an artist’s struggle as well as the losses in personal life.  How she is equated to the Hilsa? You have to read the book to find the analogy / comparison. I found it very relevant and well expressed.

I found the loss of so many loved ones and family members dying a bit sad and felt that one odd member could have lived! Too much negative came with so many deaths but it worked for the book so Amit knew what he was writing. That Avantika came from a broken home only added to the sympathy she generated for me as a reader. I found the almost orphan like status so heart wrenching, especially at times when a mother’s touch or wise word might have made all the difference. Such are the harsh truths of life, not all of us are fortunate enough to have it all.

The simile of  a love being like the two pillars of a temple was so well written in the book, at the right time and explained in the right way along with the beautiful poem. The book has some really good moments especially when the Captain is shining through!

In spite of being disadvantaged at many fronts Avantika managed to not only survive but leave a mark is what really worked for me in the story. The relationships as well as the sexual relations have all being handled so maturely and with finesse. There is nothing vulgar and trashy written just to create hype because she is in a relationship. If anything I found the exploration and awareness of Avantika in her personal and professional life very well written.

The transformation of Avantika is like a phoenix; from her ashes she rose majestically. If you enjoy a survivor’s story you will love this one with its twists and turns.

The style and language is of The Flight of the Hilsa is one that will appeal to the masses and everyday youth of our country; after this book talks about their angst and ambitions!
Yes! I  got them all!!


What is happiness? 
On one hand, mortals spend their lives, just trying to trace their true calling. While on the other, the blessed ones discover the treasure of fulfillment in this lifetime itself. Not deluded by delusions, not failed by failures, these lucky ones rise above all challenges to discover and define their own truth, which leads them to their happiness. Flight of the Hilsa follows AvantikaSen Gupta’s journey in quest for her truth, her happiness. 

Avantika is a highly opinionated and whimsical, young Bengali woman who is a painter by profession, in search of success. Bearing the burnt of a traumatic childhood-an abusive father and a rebel creative mother, life for her swings between extremes. This leads to a cynical cynical point of view which turns into a serious mental block, not only clouding her mind but also hampering her ability to see things in the right perspective. No wonder, within the art fraternity, her paintings get branded as ‘soulless blabbering.’

Frustrated by all this, even her personal relationships-with boy friend, her best friend and even her own father, hits an all time low. All tired and exhausted, but nevertheless a fighter; luck gives her a final chance. On an inspiration trip to Kerala, she comes across someone who mesmerizes her by his simple yet potent philosophy. His profound thoughts give her floundering life a new direction. As opposites attract, no wonder irrespective of the twenty years gap, cupid strikes. 

With a new found vision and a lover; and aided by quick turn of events, success starts coming her way. On one hand, Doctor diagnoses her with stomach ulcer, while on the other, her Europe exhibition becomes a big hit. In no time her fortune changes. 

But then as success is a good slave and a bad master, it makes her live in a world which has no foundation, or for that matter, even friends. Life comes full circle and her house of card come tumbling down. Completely devastated, she starts looking for solace. She travels back to the rendezvous point, Kerala again. Will she discover true happiness? The story goes on to unfold many such questions.

To know more about the author 
click @ Amit Shankar

I got a copy of the book from the author and the review is my unbiased view of the book.

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