It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Sylvia by Maithreyi Karnoor.
About the Author
Maithreyi Karnoor is a Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow in creative writing and translation at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She has been shortlisted for The Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize for A Handful of Sesame, her translation of a Kannada novel. She is a two- time finalist for The Montreal International Poetry Prize. Sylvia is her debut novel. She lives in Bangalore, India. Follow @MaitreyiKarnoor on Twitter
About the book
Longing to connect to his ancestral roots, Cajetan Pereira has taken up residence near one of the rare and mystical Baobab trees in South India. Into his world walks Sylvia, a young woman in search of a story. They bond over their new-found relationship, until one day consumed by regret, Sylvia disappears.
In a rich kaleidoscope of tales, Sylvia is glimpsed in the lives of other characters as a colleague, friend, wife, and lover, until she comes back into focus as she finds herself becoming whole once more – but is it too late?
Brimming with exquisite prose, Sylvia is a beautifully woven tapestry of the ways in which we leave indelible imprints on each other’s lives.
I feel it is paramount that we continue to evolve by learning and that includes the impact systemic racism, colonisation, slavery has had and still has. With that in mind, and knowing what the author is passionate about in their writing, while I was reading this I was thinking about something I watched recently about the way colonisers have colonised the important important religious, cultural and heritage events of minorities and other cultures. The way we view them is through the lens and interpretation of the coloniser, thereby never being able to correctly comprehend the aforementioned correctly, and thus also the people they are important to.
This book is all about allowing the reader to step back and experience Indian mythology in a contemporary setting, and perhaps allow this exploration to give the us a better insight and interpretation.
Interpretation is key, perhaps the story of Bhaubaab, Lakshmi, and the snake, is a good example of that. The path of Bhaubaab and Lakshmi is the first part of the book, the second half consists of stories with characters with their own stories to tell. Or are they? Is it merely a metaphor for the premise that we are all and one the same. Our stories can be this, that, them. Everywhere embedded in every character. Interpretation, and this indeed leans into areas of speculation.
It’s beautifully written with lyrical prose and an almost spiritual element that is driven from first page to last via the ever changing and evolving Sylvia who – and this is how I experienced the read – represents all of us in a variation of roles, relationships and moments. Sylvia becomes the element of hope, belief, spirituality, even if only a small part – in each of us.
Buy Sylvia at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Neem Tree Press Limited; pub date 2 May 2023. Buy at Amazon com.