It was an amazing ride.
For a book less than a hundred pages long, a novella, it took me quite a few months to read, despite the fact that I usually go through 1000 page novels in weeks.
Because the first few pages took me to a cloud of crazy fantastical writing, where each word was beautifully crafted and well adjusted to the other, so well adjusted in fact, that I have never seen such writing before.
Your immediate thought in the beginning is that the writing is an allegory, related to the author's life in some way.
Then you slowly realise that she is not actually talking about herself, she is actually writing in the voice of a man, and not even a Goan, a Britisher called Ian. I mean, yes he is a writer, but that is where the similarity ends.
The references to Goa are so fleeting, that you could miss it, but there are great insights, which are worth pondering on, like the multilingual nature of Goa and where the hospitality exists and where it is going.
Straight-away I could identify with the protagonist, although it was after the first few pages.
From floating in a cloud, the next few pages bringing you to ground so hard, that you find yourself landing running, like when you jump from a moving local train in Mumbai, which seems to have no intention of stopping.
The pace then gets so frenetic, that you realise that you don't want to do anything, but finish the book to the end, if only to know if Ian actually finds Clarisse or not.
Of course she seems like a ghost, like an unbelievable dream come true, with all the necessary baggage that entails.
The book suddenly gets so mature from being so whimsical, that you start questioning what's real and what isn't.
The concept of going after your first love is so enthralling, that it makes you wonder if it is possible for you too.
Maybe it is.
Labels: clarisse, first, frederika, goa, goan, ian, love, menezes, mumbai, unforgotten