Kintsugi – A Novel by Anukrti Upadhyay

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Genre –  Fiction 

Price – The hardcover  of this novel is priced at  Rs 310/-  and  Kindle Edition at Rs 294.50

About the Author

Anukrti Upadhyay  is a law graduate and holds a post graduate degree in literature and management.She has earlier worked in Global Investment Bank in Hong Kong and India and is now working  for the World Wildlife Conservation Trust. She is currently dividing her time living in Singapore and Bombay.

Anukrti has tried her hand at both Fiction and poetry and her published works include two novellas in English – Daura and Bhaunri that have been critically well received and a collection of short stories in Hindi – Japani  Sarai.

About the Novel 

I am sure you will be wondering about the title of this work “ Kintsugi” . Kintsugi or  kintsukuroi  means “ golden repair “ and it is the Japanese art of mending broken ceramic pottery by  using  lacquer dusted  mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. This art form does not seek to hide or conceal a crack or deformity in the pot rather  the repair is undertaken while retaining the crack and the cracks are embraced as part of the heritage of that object.The flaws thus become highlighted and become an inseparable part of the identity of the mended object, giving it a new character. The book seeks to extend the same philosophy in the context of human lives.

Anukrti Upadhyay could not have chosen a better title for this novel,this book urges one to look for beauty in broken things and accept them as part of the whole package.The characters in this book -Hanuko , Leela, Prakash and Meena ,are all people broken by destiny but they embrace it and make something better out of their setbacks.

Hanuko  is a Japanese girl whose passion for jewelry design takes her  halfway across the globe to learn the now fast fading art of Meenakari and Kundansazi  from  the heirloom Sunars Madan ji and Munnaji in the dusty,smelly bylanes of the famous Johri Bazar of Jaipur . 

Leela is born in  family of Goldsmiths and is hugely talented but her family traditions forbid a girl to become a Sunar (goldsmith).

Prakash is a sincere and hardworking Doctor whose fiancé Meena is studying in Japan for a research scholarship.

Meena  comes to Tokyo for a research scholarship and while her family and fiancé are concerned about how Meena will cope with the completely different  food ,culture and  climate of Japan, she just falls in  love and not only with Japan !

Anukrti  is a very gifted  writer , she paints beautiful pictures with her words,her writing has a  lyrical and Zen like quality  which even reflects in the occasional Haikus. Her writing style sometimes reminded me of Haruki Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood”.

She effortlessly brings alive Haruko’s quiet fortitude, her cheerful determination and strength of character even in the most distressing times.

One can feel and empathize with Yuri’s  deep sense of loneliness and unrelieved despair despite living a seemingly full life.

Being born and brought up in Jaipur and having travelled to Japan ,Anukrti gives us life like descriptions of the hustle and bustle and heat and dust of the Jaipur City and the fascinating elegance of Tokyo city. Even when the author chooses to skip translating the Japanese terms she has liberally used in her text, I did not find it restraining in any way but I feel a small glossary or footnote would really have helped the initiated.The narration becomes slightly stretched towards the end but still manages to end on a profound note.

To conclude, this is a really good book that touches you, grows on you as you turn the pages and stays with you even when you finish it.

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