In time of crisis, we need stories. When we are looking for a change in life, stories can inspire us. When our heart aches, stories can save our soul. In our fast forward society, we praise way too little the storytellers, those wizards of words that can completely change your life with the touch of a magic word.
Personally, I think the best of the magic is the one created through words. How else can one explain that super power of putting words and then words and then sentences together creating inspiring stories that move your soul and heal your body?
The award-winning Monica Bhide is one of those gifted people beautifying the world through her stories. An unique story teller, she can create worlds and characters that stay with you through the good and the bad times. The reader is transposed in an universe where pain and love and the happy and the heartbroken all sip from the water of beauty. Either she is writing about beautiful recipes or about the search for love, Monica - in full disclosure, she is a very dear friend of mine whose friendship is a blessing I am grateful for - makes the world a better place, a place of beauty and kindness.
Her latest book, her 11th, The Soul Catcher is unique in both literary approach and individuality. A novel in stories, it follows the lives of ordinary people facing end-of-life situations. Set in modern India, the real India the author knows so well through her regular travels not that imaginary India from the simplistic travel listicles, the novel is built around Yamini Goins, the ´Soul Catcher´ that can transport souls from one body to another in order to save lives.
I am interested in spiritual ideas but I am very careful with my choice of fiction books on such topics. Life is what we made out of it, especially from those life threatening, life challenging moments. I am completely against living in denial in a pink cloud dreaming that everything is fine and will be fine. Sometimes things are not going well, and this is also life. More likely real life. The Soul Catcher is one of my favorite books of this year for its profound take on life and human behavior, showing how our wishes and desires - for prolonging our life, for instance - may eat out our soul, may distract us from our path in life.
Yamini is for me the most important character in the book as she is torned between using her gift and the heavy weight of the burn-out of actually having to do it. The events she is part of do offer her reasons to think back and reflect about her experience, doubt, stop and eventually start over.
The Soul Catcher is a very challenging read, requesting the reader´s full attention and dedication, and leaves you with a basket full of questions and serious thoughts about life, its limitations and blessings in disguise. There is strength in our human fragility and this is an important truth that literature, among other things, should be a reminder thereof.
A special mention to the book cover which is outstandingly beautiful and elegant.
Rating: 5 stars