Title : Melancholy of Innocence
Author : Raj Doctor
Publisher : Frog Books
ISBN : 978-93-81115-05-3
Melancholy of Innocence by Raj Doctor is a passionate love story of Umit who barely made his presence felt in the teen years and a beautiful girl Masum who happens to be eight years elder to Umit. The story is told in a flashback set in late 1920s in Istanbul against the backdrop of post political revolution that led to Turkish independence.
Umit finds a connection of 'Ruh' with Masum and obsessively follows his soul's inner voice. He does find a way to be with Masum and to show his pure feelings to her. Gradually their love blossoms and they decide to seal it with signature of permanence. But are they able to successfully do it and where does Umit find himself thirty years from the time he first set his eyes on Masum? And why is there melancholiness in this love saga?
A couple of sub stories are also added to the narrative, for instance that of Masum's brother and his relationship with his friend but these subplots neither help the main plot move forward nor bring in any freshness to it, hence are complete waste.
The story began quite promisingly and I liked the introspective philosophy sections that appeared in bits and pieces in between the narrative but then the mundane day to day activities were dealt in such elaborate details that it started becoming very drab and a mere chore to read through. I did read through the whole book because I was expecting a great climax at the end when Umit returns to the present time but then the climax and the conclusion were very weak and very naively handled.
The narration is beautifully peppered with philosophy and poetry, a unique style adopted by the author. The poetry is worth reading and pondering upon. However, as the story progresses, the philosophy part lingers on a little too longer than can be easily savored.
There are plenty of editing errors that the whole story suffers from. I always maintain that a tight editing is a must to have a presentable piece of writing and if a book falters on that account, it becomes a big put off.
However, the book is still not a complete wash out as the commentary on human moralities and human frailties, is interesting to read but the absence of a strong plot is sorely felt all through the story.