Book Review of “Rivers Run Back”, a collaborative novel by Joyce Yarrow and Arindam Roy
A Short Review by Lopa Banerjee
Publishers: Vitasta Publishing
“Rivers Run Back”, the cross-cultural novel encompassing decades, continents and the physical and emotional struggles of individuals, is a thrilling narrative of how destinies of individuals are intertwined in a strange, inexplicable turn of events. The novel, a unique literary collaboration of two master storytellers from different countries and backgrounds, Joyce Yarrow and Arindam Roy, is a wonder-filled read. Every single chapter, multi-layered, crisp, is neatly woven into the narrative, intriguing us with a plethora of characters, settings and a brilliant, nuanced labyrinth of plots and sub-plots. As a reader, I felt immensely close to both the protagonists Shankar and Marilyn, the erudite, gentle academician and the talented, multifaceted yet troubled, psychologically challenged painter. I also felt a strange, uncanny affinity towards the neglected, marginalized, cruel, notorious Narsimha, and Padma and Leela, the poised and the feisty sisters who complemented each other like two sides of a coin, all of them forming a brilliant mosaic of love, intrigue, deception, abuse and villainy.
The storyline, complex, intriguing and volatile, is a true roller coaster ride with countless surprising twists, turns that baffled me, challenged me, yet gripped me until the end with its fascinating blend of psychological and mythical themes dexterously woven into a richly nuanced, multi-dimensional tapestry. The wise, aristocratic world of Shankar and Marilyn is pitted against the manipulating, villainous world of Narsimha to form myriad layers of diametrically opposing characters and settings. As the narrative unfolds, bit by bit, we the readers are challenged to discover how the various layers intersect to unfold some infinite, inexplicable truths of humanity. I particularly loved the way the various strands of the narrative are interconnected with a smooth, free flowing style of storytelling which has a lush, cinematic effect to it. It is definitely a gripping psychological thriller, a suspenseful, intriguing and bewitching tale of love, intrigue and life’s strange, unexplained surprises that will stay with me for a long time.