White Noise

Book Blurb:

“There is another city right under our city and it comes up only when you and I are together. Only you and I know about it and only you and I get to experience it. It keeps itself hidden from the rest of the world. And that is where I live.” He said.“And what happens when you’re not with me?” She asked.“I evaporate.” He smiled.

The Reading Experience:

There have been times when I have devoured a book solely because of its exquisite narrative. I have relished it word by word and the sheer joy of the experience is beyond me to express. This is yet another such book. The narrative is cerebral, mysterious, addictive, and poetic – complete with metaphors, similes, rhymes, and rhythms. I remember two novels by international writers that had overwhelmed me, wowed me, blew my mind by their magical narration- ‘The Debt of Tamar’ by Nicole Dweck, and ‘We were Liars’ by E.Lockhart. This particular book ‘White Noise’ by Shruti Upadhaya is comparable to these bestselling gems.

I prefer mature stories, not stereotypical lovelorn tales. The more philosophical & psychological it is, the merrier. And this novel ticked all these check boxes. You can imagine, it was a great read- a wholesome reading experience. If you are addicted to the beauty of words, and the way they weave themselves to sentences worth quoting, this book is for you. Poetry buff? Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. If you like psychological thrillers, darker stuff, complicated yet well developed and nuanced characters, this is the read of the month for you.

I did not have very high expectations from the book when I started reading it. I read the blurb, knowing that it is an unconventional love story, with an unexpected turn of events. I had read interviews of the author in TOI, and the cover of the book launch. I knew the characters would have a gray shade to them.

The Story:

It starts off well, with the lady describing her recent attraction- a bearded brooding man; her chance encounters with him; their initial acquaintances, meetings, dates, and discussions. The entire narrative in the first part is from her perspective. How slowly and steadily, little by little every day, she falls a little more in love with him. Be it through their chats regarding their favorite books, movies etc. or be it while exploring the nooks and corners of the city, its numerous restaurants and the different cuisines that they have to offer. She becomes emotionally dependent on him, seeking him passively all the time, and letting him have the upper hand in their relationship. Hell breaks loose when he vanishes one fine day, without informing her or contacting her afterward. Abandoned, her mind is not obeying her anymore, wants to find him.

Unexpectedly we readers are now taken to Part II- ‘His’ perspective of the tale, from the very beginning. What is going on? Who is he? What is his motive? Is he really to blame for abandoning her? Does she have any secret? Whom of the two, we can’t trust? Many questioned passed through my mind at this juncture. Oh, the thrill! I lapped up the pages from here. I prefer to read slow, but from here I just couldn’t wait. The surprises were so beautiful, so creative, so luring, and yet so torturous. Two perspectives blur further here on.

And it was not until the middle of the book, that I did realize, that the two lead characters- the only characters that we have as narrators are nameless. They have not been named by the author. ‘She’ refers him as ‘the brooding bearded one’, while ‘he’ refers her as just ‘She’ or a beautiful broken mess. It’s another aspect of the novel that spooked me to no end. It heightened the eerie atmosphere, that ‘something-is-not-right’ feel. OMG Goosebumps!

My Rating - 4.5/5

Buy it here: Amazon

About the Author:

Shruti Upadhaya is a full-time author. She has written several poems and short stories and some of them can be found on her blog thestorytellersparadise.wordpress.com. She has written for several publications- The Times of India (Calcutta and Pune), Kolkata Mirror and Exotica (a lifestyle magazine run by The Pioneer group). White Noise is Shruti’s first Novel and she would love to know how you enjoyed the book. You can write to her at shruti.upadhaya@gmail.com 
Instagram: @shrutieee 
Facebook: @shruti.shrutiupadhaya

Like what you read?


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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