There were two topics I wanted to start my review with and both are warring to be the first to be mentioned(in my head), so I thought I could state both and then talk about them in reverse order and whoever reads this can pick which one ought to have come first.
1)The beginning part of the book mentions that this story was first a play and 2) I am probably not the only person who ever wanted to write about people who pass by in a train journey. The latter is a longer story but bear with me while I make its impact clear.
One of the colonial impacts left in India, is an Indian version of long train journeys, anyone who has ever used the trains here knows how long an average train journey is and the advantage of having sleeper berths on most of them. I used to have seventeen-hour trips alone on a train that took an extremely long route through three different states in the south, each with its own style of dressing and language and peculiarities and to top it all, the train was also used by people going even further along, all the way to the other end of the country. This added a lot of vividness to the surroundings, and I gathered enough fodder to want to actually WRITE. Each trip I would start to pen a random story about people who meet on the train but it never went anywhere and someday if I do ever write something longer than a review, there would be one long train journey in it. I just hope my (imaginary, future) train story could even have a percentage of the impact that this short book does. Coming back to the first point, since it was mentioned that this was also a play, I kept imagining the scenes on stage (as I have only recently become very familiar with stage plays) and felt that added an extra level of enjoyment. The only reason I was unable to give this book a complete five stars was that I enjoyed the idea of it as a play more than just a story!!
The story is very simple, it is a tale of a few people who meet by chance but end up travelling partway together. They are a reflection of many other people we meet on our way through daily life, some who actually have problems in life and others who have a significant lack of anything at all- both good or bad. The author uses few words to draw very stark pictures and lets you explore the minds of average (and maybe above average) individuals who need the emotional impact that the events of this story have saved for them. I have not introduced the characters here nor described their lives because it is not a big book and all of those introductions form the core of the tale. This would be an ideal book- club read because of the number of ways it can be enjoyed/dissected.
I highly recommend this book to those looking for a different read. I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.