Title: Life Sentence
Author: Sagar Agrawal
Publisher: BAU Publishing
Price: Kindle INR 100; Paperback INR 199
Review by : 1. Manjusha Mishra; 2. Meher Castelino on Amazon
‘What is your aim in philosophy?
To show the fly the way out of the fly bottle.’
– Ludwig Wittgenstein,Philosophical Investigations
This book is not made for easy reading. It twists reality out of shapeand
makes you a traveller in the dark. You don’t know whether you are coming or going, or whether you are moving at all. The power of the mind over the life of the protagonist, is there for the reader to see and to be judgemental – that’s the overwhelming feeling.
As the reader wades from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, in utter confusion and bewilderment, the thought of having entered another realm is strong. But you can’t put the book down and you want to know where this is leading to. A strange book, it plays the mind and questions reality.
Fears, phobias and euphoria are there, all at the same time each indistinguishable from the other. What is this life and what is it’s purpose? The mind’s fantasies keep us engaged in thought and action, unceasingly.
Who am I? What am I doing here and now? What am I supposed to be doing? Fighting off the dark forces – of the mind, breaking the walls – that the mind has built for us, escaping the prisons of our minds, appear to be the only
reality, the only purpose of our existence. But there is no escape from the all powerful mind and the new worlds it constantly keeps creating, as new realities. The ‘Warden’ is the observer of minds, the gentle Keeper, or so we hope,in charge of the Light.
There is a sense of relief when the book ends with our protagonist having found light and freedom. It’s when you realise how uncomfortable you were, together with the prisoner, all the while wading from chapter to chapter, partner in the struggle. One might think, ‘Thank Goodness this is fiction’. Is it?
Life Sentence the debut novel by Sagar Agarwal is an intriguing piece of writing. The idea of the book was visualised by Sagar seven years ago when he attended a Vipassana retreat. Like the sessions at the retreat that guide the participants to gradually unveil each aspect of life as well as one’s personality and emotions, Life Sentence takes the reader through a roller coaster ride of thoughts, emotions and the multilayers of life that are experienced. Sagar’s book has to be read slowly, carefully and maybe several times to fathom what he is trying to convey. But once the message is understood the reader will be able to identify the author’s purpose of the book. Life Sentence is a book that chalks the journey of every human being and the internal and external struggles through life. Written in first person, Sagar’s detailed descriptions of his thoughts and feelings are imaginative and colourful in a language that is simple. It’s his personal, emotional journey documented in an imaginative format.