If you ask me to describe the book The Fragile Thread of Hope, I would say this.
Pain etched in every single word
The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri is a novel that’s themed around personal losses, childhood trauma, tragedies, and how people bounce back from them. It’s the story of Fiona and Soham and how they are linked together by a fragile thread of hope.
I have always wondered how people cope up after they have experienced a personal tragedy. When you have lost the most important thing in life – be it your loved ones, your home, or your job- how do you find the strength to go ahead? Or, more importantly, how can you survive until time heals everything (does time actually heal?). The Fragile Thread of Hope shows this through the story of Soham, Fiona, Sharon, and Joseph.
I must admit that I am not a big fan of the genre tragedy, not because it’s not a good genre. I am a very sensitive reader. I soak up the characters and incidents, and they stay with me forever. While I was reading The Fragile Thread of Hope, I cried in many places. Pankaj has delivered the story with such an emotional impact that you will feel how Soham and Fiona felt when they lost the most valuable things in life. I think this is the most powerful aspect of Pankaj’s storytelling. He is very good at conveying an emotion – be it sadness, empathy, joy, terror, or wonder. When we read Pankaj, you will get soaked up in those emotions, and the effect takes a long time to wear out. I think this is the most important quality of a writer – to connect with the reader.
About the storyline, I found it predictable. We already kind of know what’s going to happen to Soham and Fiona. While there are many twists and turns in the story, you will be prepared for it. I think that’s Ok because The Fragile Thread of Hope isn’t a thriller or suspense novel. The novel explores the theme of religion and belief quite well.
The strength of The Fragile Thread of Hope is the characters. I am sure that I am never going to forget Fiona, Sharon, Joseph, and Soham. They are so relatable that you will feel that you know someone like them. While reading the novel, I was trying to picture myself in their position and kept wondering what I would do if I had to face such things. It terrified me, but at the same time, it gave me a fragile hope that I would be able to manage. I wish with my whole life nothing like that happens to me! My favorite character is Joseph. He is nothing less than an angel from the heavens. I wish if every man out there was like Joseph!
The narrative non-linear, which I liked. It adds a freshness to the plot. When you pack this much tragedy into a book, there is always a chance that things go out of hand. However, Pankaj had balanced in quite well that you wouldn’t feel that the novel is monochromatic. This book being Pankaj’s first novel, I think he has made a fantastic effort as a writer.
The novel is set in Gangtok gives it a fresh feel. I have read too many stories set in metros and frankly am a little tired of that. You will get to know quite a bit about their culture and landscape. I think that’s quite a refreshing aspect of the novel.
There are a few points I think he could have improved. While there are a huge number of fantastic scenes, some of them fell flat for me. Especially the first few meetings of Fiona and Joseph – it reminded me of cliched campus romance. As I have read the rest of the novel and it’s fantastic, I think those scenes could have improved a bit. Another aspect of the story where I found room for improvement is the character of Sharon. I think her character could have given a bit more space and could have developed a little more. So is Soham’s parents. I understand that it may not be possible to give everyone as much screen space as you wish. That’s a challenge every author finds.
I am glad that I have got a chance to read this unique novel. It showed me in a brutally direct way how tragedies strike and how it breaks people. It doesn’t false hope like self-help books. It told me that the thread of hope so fragile, but still, you need to hang on to it and shape your life around it.
So, I would like to give Pankaj’s debut novel, 4 stars out of 5. Don’t miss this beautiful piece of work.