#BlogTour Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness. It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.

About the Author

Joe Harkness has been writing a Bird Therapy blog for the last thress years. In 2017, he had articles published in The Culew and Bidwatch magazine as well as recording three tweets of the day for BBC Radio 4. He is employed as a Special Educational needs teacher and has worked in the youth sector for nine years. He lives in Norfolk.

Follow @BirdTherapy on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit birdtherapy.blogBuy Bird Therapy

About the book

‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ Chris Packham

When Jow Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.

Review

In a day and age where people struggle to cope with the pressure of life, work and relationships, and mental health illnesses are on the rise, a book like this is a necessity.

The keyword in regards to this book is coping strategy. If you have found a strategy that helps you work through mental health issues, as long as it doesn’t harm yourself or others, then that’s a good thing. If you feel others can benefit from being introduced to a new strategy, then share away.

The most interesting element about this book was the way Harkness opened up completely and examined every single thought and action in connection with the bird therapy and his surroundings. This is especially apparent in the last chapters of the book, where he identifies what is ‘off” or not quite right about the new bird watching environment he has moved to. It’s incredibly introspective and he offers up his vulnerability in an attempt to help himself and others at the same time.

There is the man, a member of one of my local FB groups, he takes nature photographs the majority of which are of wildlife and birds. They are so beautiful, so detailed and fascinating. It’s a stark reminder of what passes us by in life and of the beauty we don’t take time to appreciate. Looking at those pictures of birds, wildlife and nature it isn’t hard to understand what a soothing effect it can have on a person, especially when you experience them in real time.

The illustrations by Jo Brown are an added bonus to the written content. They give the read an air of serenity and peacefulness, and hint at the beauty of the avian world. They also give a indication of what the author is talking about.

It’s part memoir, part mental health coping strategy, but most of all it is one man sharing in the hope he will help others with his words and his bird therapy.

Buy Bird Therapy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 13 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Unbound.

#BlogTour The Disappeared by Amy Lord

Today it’s my tun on the BlogTour The Disappeared by Amy Lord. It’s dystopian fiction influenced by history and politics.About the Author

Amy Lord is a writer, blogger and digital marketer from north-east England. She won a Northern Writer’s Award in 2015 for The Disappeared and was also longlisted in the inaugural Bath Novel Award. An earlier manuscript saw her shortlisted for Route Publishing’s Next Great Novelist Award. Amy is currently working on a new novel, which was developed as part of year-long mentoring scheme with Writers Block NE.

Follow @tenpennydreams on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit tenpennydreams.com, Buy The Disappeared 

About the book

What if reading the wrong book could get you arrested?

In a decaying city controlled by the First General and his army, expressing the wrong opinion can have terrible consequences. Clara Winter knows this better than anyone. When she was a child, her father was taken by the Authorisation Bureau for the crime of teaching banned books to his students. She is still haunted by his disappearance.

Now Clara teaches at the same university, determined to rebel against the regime that cost her family so much – and her weapons are the banned books her father left behind. But she has started something dangerous, something that brings her to the attention of the Authorisation Bureau and its most feared interrogator, Major Jackson. The same man who arrested Clara’s father.

With her rights stripped away, in a country where democracy has been replaced by something more sinister, will she be the next one to disappear?

Review

This has shades of The Man in the High Castle and takes moments from history to define the plot. The result is a read that isn’t far-fetched in a sense that it is dystopian but based on scenarios that have already taken place, so in a way it is history repeating itself.

It draws parallels to Nazi Germany for instance, and the way they got rid of everyone who didn’t tow the line, aside from all the others on their target list. Also why the general population didn’t speak out, help victims and try and fight the system.

Clara’s entire life is defined by fear and hesitation since the night her father was taken by the regime. An oppressive regime that controls all actions, words and they even try to control thoughts. They teach their own version of the truth and in doing so have changed the narrative of history.

Her father falls victim to those in control, because he dares to break the rules. He becomes one of the many disappeared. The invisible numbers of people who fall foul of the sadistic monsters in charge of enforcing the rules. You know, the rules that are supposed to keep everyone safe.

Clara slowly learns to deal with the fear and the reader gets to experience the awakening of the inner rebel. When the people she loves fall into the hands of the brutal sadists she finally understands that it is time to stand up and be counted.

I would have liked to have seen Lord focus more on the banned books and banned words aspect of the story, because it was fascinating and hey I’m invested – I’m a bookworm.

It’s dystopian fiction influenced by history and politics. The kind of oppressive regime many countries already adhere to and the western world is moving towards. The author paints a frightening picture of a world I certainly don’t want to live in.

Buy The Disappeared at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson. This is an engaging and thought-provoking piece of non-fiction.

About the Author

Jodie Jackson is an author, researcher and campaigner.

She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of East London (UK) where she investigated the psychological impact of the news.

As she discovered evidence of the beneficial effects of solutions focused news on our wellbeing, she grew convinced of the need to spread consumer awareness. She is a regular speaker at media conferences and universities.

Jodie is also a qualified yoga teacher and life coach.

Follow @JacksonJodie21 on Twitter, Visit jodiejackson.com

Buy You are What You Read

About the book

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and powerless after watching the news? Does it make you feel sad about the world, without much hope for its future? Take a breath – the world is not as bad as the headlines would have you believe.

In You Are What You Read, campaigner and researcher Jodie Jackson helps us understand how our current twenty-four-hour news cycle is produced, who decides what stories are selected, why the news is mostly negative and what effect this has on us as individuals and as a society.

Combining the latest research from psychology, sociology and the media, she builds a powerful case for including solutions into our news narrative as an antidote to the negativity bias.

You Are What You Read is not just a book, it is a manifesto for a movement: it is not a call for us to ignore the negative but rather a call to not ignore the positive. It asks us to change the way we consume the news and shows us how, through our choices, we have the power to improve our media diet, our mental health and just possibly the world.

Review

I absolutely understand why some people, including the author choose to step away from the negativity that drives the media. It has become almost like a shark feeding frenzy with the audience baying for blood. The more traumatic, brutal and soul-destroying the news is the better.

The news of today isn’t the news of yesterday. We used to have media outlets with journalists who strived to give the world, their audience, the facts and the truth, albeit as they perceived it through their frame of reference. Nowadays you get opinion based journalism, sensationalist tabloid pieces and a slowly declining number of outlets and individuals who report the facts.

On top of that our media outlets are controlled by conglomerates and moguls who have bought up the majority of them, so it has become a kind of monopoly. There is a good reason the peasants rose up to demand Rupert Murdoch not be allowed to buy yet another media outlet that reaches millions of people.

Monopolies change the way we receive information and more importantly they control the information we are being fed. They decide what to feed the masses, which means they can sway opinions and votes. Not exactly unimportant in our day and age when tempers are frayed and the extreme right is on the rise.

I think the saddest aspect of all of the above, aside from journalists not being journalists anymore, is that the majority of people don’t realise they are being manipulated to think, vote and perceive information a certain way. That’s not the same as being ignorant or uninformed. If you have no clue that someone is trying to dictate or influence your opinions, then you will be none the wiser.

It’s a fact that the Russians have influenced political outcomes in multiple countries, and still are. They have buildings filled with people who plant false information and stories to influence the public – troll farms. Fact. It’s also a fact that big media outlets no longer produce non-biased news.

We live in a world where the public is hungry for every detail of someone’s life. Reality shows and Z-celebrities make money the more extreme, aggressive and dramatic they are. The other side of that coin is the fact that the public wants it to be delivered to them.

Jackson advocates for the audience to adapt a more balanced media diet. I concur with the general idea, however I do believe it is quite hard to do so. It’s not easy for everyone to discern between fact and opinion, and whilst I agree that more positivity is needed to balance the negativity, I think it’s becoming harder to find sources to deliver that.

Although the theoretical idea is one I believe will allow many to have a more productive life and be less stressed, I also believe it’s important not to retreat into a false bubble of hope. I do believe it’s important to educate people and to fight this war of negativity head on. You can’t change something if you don’t know it’s already swallowed you whole and influenced you, which means helping others to understand what is happening is even more important.

This is an engaging and thought-provoking piece of non-fiction. In fact perhaps the world would be a better place if we had more voices like Jackson, who are trying to be heard through the cacophony of falsities. It is indeed a movement.

Buy You Are What You Read at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound; pub date 4 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour Take Me to the Edge by Katya Boirand. Photographs by Eli Sverlander. It’s poetry with a visual element with the added variable of chaos. I love the idea of someone else being inspired by the words of another person. A limited number of words – five words to be exact.

If you would like a poem of your own written, please don’t hesitate in submitting your five words via Instagram to @poetrybymeinspiredbyyou and you may be featured in the next book.’ – Katya Boirand 2018

About the Author

Katya Boirand is an actress, dancer, writer and poet. She has travelled the world but now has roots in London. Take Me to the Edge is her first poetry collection.

About the book

That is what Katya Boirand discovered the first time she asked a friend for five words and then turned them into a poem, using the words and the subject as her inspiration. This spark started a movement, and soon Katya was asking friends and strangers alike for their five words of choice. Take Me to the Edge is a selection of these poems, sitting alongside a portrait of each subject, in this stunning and joyous celebration of language, connection and art.

Review

I love the idea of someone else being inspired by the words of another person. A limited number of words – five words to be exact. Then those five words are absorbed into the creativity of the poet to become something more.

I wonder if Boirand tries to channel what those words mean to the person who said them in the first place. Does the inspiration take on concrete form as she interacts with them, looks straight into their eyes and hears them. Or is the inspiration taken purely from the power of the words.

It made me wonder which words I would pick. Would I choose random ones that fall from mind to tongue or would I dig deep for words that have meaning to myself. I am genuinely interested in the creative process and end result.

I highly recommend buying a physical hardback copy of this book. It is incredibly beautiful, a work of art. The combination of words by Boirand and pictures by Sverlander equals oral, written and visual art working hand in hand to create singular pieces of stimulating artistry.

As I was reading this book and taking in the entirety of it, I wished the author had added the five words each person had chosen. What did she start with and how the author went from five to more. Luckily Boirand has done exactly that. The subjects, their words and a little bit about themselves is included in the last few pages. It’s a really lovely way to bring the book full circle.

I loved this expressive, bold and unpredictable expression of art. It’s poetry with a visual element and the added variable of chaos.

Buy Take Me to the Edge at Amazon UkPublisher: Unbound; pub date 16 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Green Gold by Gabriel Hemery

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Green Gold: The Epic True Story of Victorian Plant Hunter John Jeffrey by Gabriel Hemery. It’s a biographical story and it’s also historical fiction, a story with blank spaces which Hemery has filled with the fictional emotions and experiences of a man who has earned his mention in the history books of botanical exploration and achievements.

About the Author

Gabriel Hemery is an author, tree photographer and forest scientist.

Books by Gabriel Hemery:

Green Gold: The Epic True Story of Victorian Plant Hunter John Jeffrey, is a fictional biography, combining meticulous research with the fictional narrative of Jeffrey’s lost journals. Publishing with Unbound in spring 2019.

The New Sylvia: A Discourse of Forest & Orchard Trees for the Twenty First Century, was published to wide acclaim by Bloomsbury in 2014. Its 400 pages feature more than 100 tree species, accompanied by 200 specially commissioned pen and ink drawings made by Sarah Simblet. Its publication coincided with the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s Sylva (1664).

Don’t Look Back featured as a short story in the woodland anthology, Arboreal, published by Little Toller Books in 2016.

Gabriel Hemery co-founded Sylva Foundation, an environmental charity, and writes a popular tree and forestry blog. He lives near Oxford in England.

Buy Green GoldAbout the book

In 1850, young Scottish plant hunter John Jeffrey was despatched by an elite group of Victorian subscribers to seek highly prized exotic trees in North America. An early letter home told of a 1,200-mile transcontinental journey by small boat and on foot.  Later, tantalising collections of seeds and plants arrived from British Columbia, Oregon and California, yet early promise soon withered. Four years after setting out, John Jeffrey, and his journals, disappeared without a trace.  Was he lost to love, violence or the Gold Rush? Green Gold combines meticulous research with the fictional narrative of Jeffrey’s lost journals, revealing an extraordinary adventure.

Review

The golden-age of plant hunting – I kind of like that way of describing what our Victorian plant hunter does. I can imagine what plant hunters did seems quite uninteresting to the younger generations, perhaps even plenty of the older ones, but fact is without people like John Jeffrey we wouldn’t know half the things we do about the flora in regions other than our own native ones.

Travelling all over the world, in this case predominantly North America, to discover new species of plant life. Walking, climbing, documenting and taking samples. It was also common practice to draw or sketch pictures to document each new plant or animal species. In fact I would suggest looking at some of those sketches, a lot of which are in the public domain, to see how detailed they are and how much work the artists put into them.

John Jeffrey was tasked with discovering and procuring the seeds of useful trees, shrubs and flowers to enhance or suited to the climate of the Britain. Advancing the arboriculture and horticulture was seen by many private benefactors as a way to enhance the beauty of their landscapes, gardens or surroundings in general. Of course this aspect of scientific exploration opened up the doorway to examining the potential for more profitable endeavours, such as finding multi-purpose plants.

Indeed, we now consume genetically adapted food groups, which are manipulated to acclimatise and grow to withstand conditions their original DNA wouldn’t have survived or thrived in. Centuries ago the research was fuelled by the curious nature of rich patrons wanting to see exotic trees and plants in their gardens. Now research is about combating world hunger and feeding an over-populated planet.

I must say I have a new appreciation for this kind of read since reading At the Edge of the Orchard by Chevalier. I learnt so much about arboriculture, pomology and the breeding and pollination in climates foreign to certain species or seedlings.

It becomes clear that what is planned in theory by affluent men behind the closed doors of renowned societies is not the same as the practical application and reality of said plans. Given that Jeffrey was a botanist, a naturalist, a gardener sent out into the unknown frontier on the basis of often undecided terms dictated by a less than stellar communication flow of aforementioned affluent men, perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the arrangement didn’t work out as expected. The money men never felt as if he sent enough samples, his journals were never sent home as agreed or found at all, and Jeffrey was probably in way over his head. He simply disappeared whilst travelling. John Jeffrey was last seen in 1854 in San Fransisco and was thought to be heading to New Mexico.

Hemery has used old archives, letters, communication and articles on John Jeffrey and his expedition, and then filled in the blanks with a fictional narrative and story. I enjoyed the contradiction of the two sides of the coin, because it’s a realistic representation of formal business communication and personal journals. John Jeffrey is deserving of high praise and I think his fellow colleagues and employers did and have done him a great disservice. It’s easy to be critical from the confines of a plushy office or stately home, whilst someone else is braving the harsh weather, brutal and murderous climate of the gold rush, and the dangers of the wilderness.

It’s a biographical story and it’s also historical fiction, a story with blank spaces which Hemery has filled with the fictional emotions and experiences of a man who has earned his mention in the history books of botanical exploration and achievements. A man who collected at least 400 plant specimens and the seeds of 199 species, including 35 conifer tree species. How can anyone say that he did not fulfil his designated role, because he certainly left his mark on our landscapes with his botanical achievements.

Buy Green Gold at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Blood on the Stone by Jake Lynch

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Blood on the Stone by Jake Lynch. It’s well-written historical crime fiction.

About the Author

Jake Lynch is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, and the author of seven books and over 50 refereed articles and book chapters. Over 20 years, he has pioneered both research and practice in the field of Peace Journalism, for which he was recognised with the 2017 Luxembourg Peace Prize, awarded by the Schengen Peace Foundation.

He has held Fellowships at the Universities of Johannesburg, Bristol and Cardiff, where he read English Literature and got a Diploma in Journalism Studies. His PhD was from City University, London.

Before taking up an academic post, Jake enjoyed a successful career in journalism, with spells as a Political Correspondent for Sky News at Westminster and the Sydney correspondent for the Independent newspaper, culminating in a role as a presenter (anchor) for BBC World Television News. Jake divides his time between Australia and Oxford, where he performs in amateur dramatic productions and runs a local book group. He is married with a teenaged son.

Follow @ProfJakeLynch on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit jakelynch.co.uk

Buy Blood on the StoneAbout the book

March 1681. Oxford is hosting the English Parliament under the ‘merry monarch’, King Charles II. As politicians and their hangers-on converge on the divided city, an MP is found murdered, triggering tensions that threaten mayhem on the streets.

Luke Sandys, Chief Officer of the Oxford Bailiffs, must solve the crime and thwart the plot. On his side is the respect for evidence and logic he absorbed in his student days, as a follower of the new science. On the other, a group of political conspirators are stirring up sectarian hatreds in their scheme to overthrow the Crown.

Struggling to protect all he holds dear, Luke leans heavily on his cavalry officer brother, his friends, and his faithful deputy, Robshaw. But he has a secret, which may be clouding his judgement. At the moment of truth, will he choose love or duty?

Review

Luke Sandys is Chief Officer or Constable of the Oxford Bailiffs and tasked with policing Oxford before any such entity existed. King Charles II and his entourage is visiting the city, when an MP by the name of William Harbord is found murdered. Suspicion falls on a specific group of agitators called the Green Ribbon Club.

As if matters weren’t complicated and dangerous enough, Luke has fallen for Cate. She and her family live in constant fear of being exposed for being Catholics. Luke is actually steering his own career in a direction that doesn’t invite any questions or vetting, because he wants to keep Cate and her family safe.

He is walking a really precarious path, a lethal one even, by trying to hide religious affiliations in plain sight. The story speaks to the volatile and unstable times in a country ripped apart by religion. I’d like to say the sectarian group planning to overthrow the king are an unusual threat, but the truth is they just show the dissension in the population.

Lynch has the style of a C.J. Sansom and Laura Shepherd-Robinson with a slightly lighter touch. He delivers the more complex side of the story, and history, in a way that doesn’t overpower the crime or the characters.

The story isn’t bogged down with too many historical facts, instead Lynch lets the history flow alongside with ease, as if his characters were always meant to be there.

It’s historical crime fiction with a main character who in the midst of turbulent times stands up for what is right, instead of ensuring the safety of himself and his loved ones. It is a well-written and researched piece of fiction, and Lynch is definitely one to watch out for. I hope to read more about Luke Sandys again soon.

Buy Blood on the Stone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Unbound Digital; pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Inside City by Anita Mir

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Inside City by Anita Mir. It’s a beautifully complex combination of historical and political fiction with an important layer of cultural mysticism.

About the Author

Anita was born in Lahore, Pakistan and came to England when she was four. She grew up in County Durham and Wales, and it was only when she moved to Lahore with her family in her late teens that it hit her that mornings weren’t supposed to be pitch black. Pakistan was a shock. And she stayed in shock. Is perhaps still in shock. But it was also love at first sight. Lahore Lahore hai/ Lahore is Lahore. Yep. Another thing that doesn’t quite translate.

Straight out of university, she applied for a job at a newspaper and for some strange reason, got it. Most of her work there was on human rights issues, particularly those pertaining to religious minorities and women. Her lighter pieces she wrote under a pseudonym, which, seven years later, her boss told her she’d spelt wrong.

From journalism, she ambled into development work. The best of her development work was when she was privileged to head two emergency programmes.

Anita kept on coming back to England then to Pakistan then…and one day (still plan-less), just stuck it out in London.

She writes fiction and plays, has had two shorts on (The Space and Soho), been longlisted for several prizes (The Bruntwood, the Soho/Verity Bargate, the Old Vic 12), and had a short story published this year in ‘New Welsh Review’. She likes hearing her director friends tell her, ‘Any minute, you’re going to break through’. In her more reflective moments, of which there are now few, she wonders what she’s supposed to break through to. And if, when she does, she’ll like it.

Anita lives in the un-trendy part of East London and when not teaching, can be found playing basketball with her boy, or else, pouring over Lego instructions with the zeal of someone who’s going to grow up to be a YouTube star.

Follow Anita Mir on Goodreads,

About the book

There are ancient walled cities all across the world. This story begins in Lahore’s walled, or inside city, as it is called in Urdu, in what was then India.

It’s fear, Khurshid thought, just fear. Unwatched, her face was grim. Barefoot, she walked to the wall of her rooftop courtyard and looked out at the city she had, in just three months, begun to love: a bulking city ever teetering upwards, with its twelve giant gates which closed each night, keeping them safe, from predators and marauders, and Dar said, bad dreams, but he’d smiled, so she’d known he was joking, only not what he meant.

A pir (seer) predicts great things for a soon to be born born boy, Awais. The year is 1919 – the year of the Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) Massacre where anywhere from 379-1,000 unsuspecting peaceful protestors were killed by armed British troops. Politics is everywhere and on every tongue. Will the British go? Will they be booted out? And what will happen to India, then?

But Khurshid, Awais’s mother, cares nothing for all that. Her dreams are not of nationhood; they centre on her boy who will give, she’s sure, her life the meaning and beauty she’s craved for so very long. As they wait for the future to unfold, no-one notices how different Khurshid’s youngest daughter, Maryam, is. But then her secret is outed. Maryam has a superb gift for Maths.

Though she doesn’t want to think it, Khurshid begins to wonder if the pir (seer) had been right about the house but wrong about whom the gift of greatness was meant for. She checks herself but the idea grows and grows. She tries to teach Awais her burning overpowering hate. But Maryam is one of Awais’s two great loves. He can’t believe what his mother says. He can’t hate Maryam. Or, he wonders, can he?

Awais other great love is the inside city, which through a chance encounter, he has started to explore and to map. When Partition, brutal and horrendous, takes place in 1947, it is Awais knowledge of the inside city that will save lives. But will it be enough to save his family as well?Review

Khurshid is a hard character to feel empathy for, perhaps because she also seems so driven by her own inner convictions and slight madness. She is intent on proving the words of the seer to be true, which in itself sets a self-fulfilling prophecy into movement. Her son Awais is destined for greatness, he will be incredibly clever and as such will prove how great he is.

Of course life is never that simple, and Awais struggles with the obsessions of his mother, as do his siblings. One of more poignant moments in the book is the way Mir describes the gender inequality when it comes to expectations in the society. How both men and women struggle to accept intelligence and academic prowess when the person possessing these skills isn’t a man.

Khurshid begins to hate the daughter, who in her eyes is in direct competition for the alleged greatness, so much so that Awais begins to draw away from his beloved sister. It’s interesting how the misogyny creeps in when Awais feels insecure about his own inadequacies, when before he embraced the fact that his sister was gifted with such a talent.

You can feel the dirty footprint of colonialism as it stomps its way through the story and the country. A country that has been torn apart and plagued by discourse due to interfering supposedly superior heads, hands and decisions. With what right did and do white men think they could convert, oppress and subjugate entire countries without the native inhabitants trying to rise up and retake what is rightfully theirs? Why after so many centuries are we still guilty of this level of dominance over others, as opposed to aiding and helping fellow humans?

When will the Western world learn that our democratic systems, which are based on the concept of a homogeneous nation, are not applicable to heterogeneous nations. This in essence is at the root of all conflict within India, and that’s without delving into the Lahore Resolution and the fractious nature of relationships that has existed since the Partition of India.

I digress.

It’s hard to say which element of the story appealed to me more – the mystical, the historical or the political part of it. Perhaps that is the crux of the book and the point Mir is making though, that all of those elements are inseparable. To understand, to know or accept one and ignore the others is to lack comprehension of country and people.

It’s a beautifully complex combination of historical and political fiction with an important layer of cultural mysticism. Mir takes the reader on a walk through political turmoil, the destructive forces of colonialism, the historical impact of the aforementioned, and simultaneously she has laid bare the intricacies of an often misunderstood culture. It describes a fight for freedom, both on the streets and in the mind of the main character, as he searches for some semblance of inner and outer peace.

Buy The Inside City by Anita Mir at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound Publishing; pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.