Xanadu

Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise

by Chandra Sundeep
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Cover picture of Xanadu Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise by Harshita Nanda

Harshita Nanda is not just a dear friend but an author par excellence. I have read and loved many of her short stories and her novella BITS and Pieces. Exactly one year ago, she gifted me a personally signed copy of Xanadu: Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise, and by some strange twist of fate; it has taken me so long to read this magnificent piece of work. However, my review remains honest and unaffected by my relationship with the author.

Xanadu narrates the intertwined destinies of three souls — Anita, Harish, and Bhoomi — all navigating through the labyrinth of life. Fate converges their paths, leading them to rediscover purpose and solace.

Bhoomi lives in a quaint village in the lap of the Himalayas. Her childhood was idyllic until a devastating earthquake shatters her family’s life. Forced to relocate to her maternal grandparent’s home, the child yearns for love and affection. Her neighbour, Anita, an old British woman, becomes her friend, mentor, and guide. Harish, the gardener’s son, is her only friend. However, the friendship is short-lived as the trio is separated due to conditions beyond anybody’s control. Decades later, the group is brought under the same roof, and it marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives.

With her great prowess, Harshita brings the hills of northern India to life. She paints a beautiful picture of the colonial era with her vivid descriptions and visually rich language.

The novella, driven by its characters, weaves various sub-plots seamlessly, creating a cohesive narrative. It is fast-paced, and I devoured it in a single sitting.

While Bhoomi and Harish are equally important characters, Anita becomes the linchpin binding the story together. All three protagonists lead challenging lives, and Harshita has poignantly highlighted their struggles. Shalini’s emotional breakdown after her husband’s demise and her subsequent efforts to pick up the broken pieces of her life were heartbreaking.

Secondary characters like Bhoomi’s maternal grandparents, stepfather, and colonel are deeply flawed. Their selfishness, personal motives, and other negative traits are well-depicted.

The novel ends on a hopeful and intriguing note, and fills the readers with hope and positivity.

Despite the enchanting setting and emotionally charged themes, the novella fell short of leaving a lasting impression. The narrative format created a barrier between me and the characters. It left me craving for a more immersive experience.

 

I would recommend “Xanadu: Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise,” to readers who like fast-paced, hopeful stories in an Indian setting.

 

Wordsopedia Rating 3.4/5

 

Title: Xanadu: Three Souls Searching for Their Paradise Author: Harshita Nanda
Publisher: Notion Press Publication date: 31 August 2021
Genre: Fiction Format: Paperback
ISBN: ‎ 978-1639976454 No. of Pages: 100

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2 comments

Harshita December 15, 2023 - 3:17 pm

Thank you so much for this wonderful review Chandra!

Reply
Chandra Sundeep December 16, 2023 - 9:03 pm

The pleasure is mine :)

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