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Book Review

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Title: Put Me in the River
Author: Sevda Khatamian
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Independently Pubished on Amazon
Price: Kindle Unlimited – Free; Kindle – INR 442.00
Pages: 181
Available: https://www.amazon.co
Review by :  Manjusha Mishra

The book is an unusual travelogue, it is also autobiographical. The traveller is also in a life’s journey, trying to find her life’s purpose and meaning, the anxiety about the future is persistent. She choses not to name the places she is travelling to, nor does she disclose which country she belongs to. Descriptions of places stop short of identifiable features of geography, of location. These are kept immaterial, inspite of being important to the whole travel saga – perhaps the very reason for her travel. Although she is negotiating the difficult details of travel, visas and tickets, managing her luggage, meeting strangers, ‘talking’ in languages she is unfamiliar with, catching buses or warily hitch hiking, she is troubled deeply down in her heart. This remains a mystery to the end. Why is this young girl, who has taken on the world bravely by travelling alone, a choice certainly made by her, so unhappy? There is no anger or hatred, just a deep sadness. Is it a broken heart, a loss, an unexpected turn in her life? We are not to know and can only guess.

But we do get to know that she has a good sense of humour, loves cats and handles situations intelligently and humanely. This helps her through the unexpected situations she finds herself in. As a tourist, facing a snow blizzard and a forest fire, both in small remote villages (both in different places), she displays a calm and strong character. She is comfortable among strangers, is selective in her choice of cuisine, loves swimming, has a modern demeanor and in general is representative of a cultured and educated youth community, who could belong anywhere in the world, as truly international citizens.

The sentence structures and choice of vocabulary show that English is not the author’s native language. But this, strangely, makes the narrative all the more quaint and interesting and readable, as the reader begins to live in the mind of the young traveller.

In this fast changing world, educated youth from relatively well-off families, suddenly find themselves unemployed and struggling. All the promise of a better world appears to have been jerked out from under their feet. This situation has created a sense of despair among many.But it is encouraging to see young people taking on the challenge in different ways, much as Sevda Khatamian.

Her website is worth  visiting at https://sevdak.com/

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