Neha Garg (thereadingowl_)'s Reviews > The Trees Told Me So

The Trees Told Me So by Purva Grover
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really liked it
bookshelves: beat-the-backlist-2018, light-reads, review-copy, short-stories

As published on The Reading Owl

I recently got to read “The Trees told me so” by Purva Grover. It is a collection of 11 stories and I must say they transported me to a time deep in the recesses of my childhood, a time I’ll always cherish. Each story focusses on the mundane and enlivens it to create the extraordinary. These are heartwarming and sometimes heart-shattering tales which cover a wide range of emotions.

By the title of the book, I had expected the trees to be the narrators. But all the stories are written in the first person by protagonists whose lives or parts of their lives have a tree at the center.

I loved the writing style. It is very lyrical, almost like a poem, especially in the first story. It evokes powerful emotions in the reader and transports him/her to the setting. I found myself witnessing the lives of people while they sit under a tree and work, or read, or simply chill out with a cup of tea in their hands.

All these tales have their own essence and I cannot choose a favorite. I can, however, try to give you a glimpse into them. Let’s group them according to the central emotions although it may vary from reader to reader.

Nostalgia: ‘A summer ritual’, ‘Handsome Point’, ‘Scent of the familiar’, ‘Over a cup of chai’ are some stories which I feel are redolent of the lost times. Small pleasures of life are almost lost and with it are lost their associated tranquility, comfort, and love. People find themselves always running. These tales are like stolen moments from the rapid fire round called life to look back and smile. I especially loved ‘Handsome Point’ which is about the ritual and time shared between a father and his son.

Work Struggle: We find many small shops which thrive under a tree. A pan-seller, a cobbler or a ‘dhobi’ are some people we meet every day. But we never spare a moment to ask or to listen to their life stories, struggles, and aspirations. Purva has beautifully colored this black and white part for us in shades of happiness and grief, failures and success, and insults and love. I love the lyrical way she has written ‘The Darkness of Red’. ‘The player’, ‘A bigger place with more feet’ are equally commendable.

Grief: While we all search for is happiness, we forget that it comes in a pair. Grief and sorrows are never far behind. And this grief is universal. It knows no boundary of society or caste and manifests itself in varied forms. But is it easier to handle when we have someone to share with it? Purva has tried to answer this in ‘A glass for Re 1’. ‘Between us mother and daughter’ is one tale that made me shudder with pain and cry out in despair as a ten-year-old is violated. It tells us about the rampant horrors faced by kids these days but they never cease to shake us from the core. ‘On the bed of wood’ is a dying mother’s letter to her son. It is a last goodbye, a kind nobody ever wants to say.

I could not categorize ‘The First Kiss’ in any of these categories. It is a tale of forbidden, unrequited love which manifests itself in form of stolen moments.

As it is impossible to capture a real rainbow on paper, these categories are just a meager attempt to tell you guys how I felt about each tale. These are not binding and can never be.

Thank you Niyogi Books for bringing these treasure to us. They would have otherwise been lost in the sea of books released with huge fanfare and marketing budgets.
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Reading Progress

March 22, 2018 – Started Reading
March 22, 2018 – Shelved
March 24, 2018 –
page 80
41.67%
March 31, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: beat-the-backlist-2018
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: light-reads
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: review-copy
April 2, 2018 – Shelved as: short-stories

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