Thank you Vinfluencers for sending me a copy of The Tree With A Thousand Apples by Sanchit Gupta.

The last time a book left me thinking was Shashi Deshpande’s A Matter Of Time.

There’s too much to write about this book, The Tree With A Thousand Apples. I am speechless and I am pondering. During the course of reading this book I did get nightmares. This book took to me the Valley that has been burning for decades now. The issue of Kashmir may not be resolved sooner but the lives there are no more humane. People are perceived to be nothing but dirt. The government may have imposed different rules and regulations for the state but that hasn’t helped it either.

The Valley has been burning everyday as we enjoy the luxuries of life. People in Valley have no clue what living in a metro feels like, what living a carefree life feels like, let alone a Paradise! The Paradise is lost to parasites, the millitants who have infested the minds of young and old alike. People in Valley want freedom, azaadi, from Indian government. They have no direction which to follow, they don’t want to accept Indian government and they don’t know if Pakistan will accept them. They don’t know what freedom really means. They live under the threat of militants and military.

In The Tree With A Thousand Apples Sanchit Gupta captures this and binds it in a bewitching tale of three friends – Deewan, Safeena and Bilal. Deewan is thrown out of his homeland, Bilal falls a prey to AFSPA and Safeena is crushed by the powerful. The only direction the three walk into is that of guns and gore. And the only way they can save themselves happens to be through the carnage as well.

While the plot looks quite simple as I put it, it is very complicated when one gets on to reading. It doesn’t complicate you with literary brilliance but it slowly creeps up and messes with your emotions. It gets scary, it gets humourous, it retains the innocence of children and also shows us the face of fury with every page that we turn. If I say that it penetrates your soul then I wouldn’t be wrong. It begins with present, takes us in a flashback and come a full circle, back to the present. But within also it keep circling around the theme of revenge and atonement. It shows us the diplomatic side of military, the wrecked life of Kashmiris and the yearning of Kashmiri Pandits. The need to feel one with the state is writ throughout the novel.

It is sharp like the Butcher’s Blade. The words too pierce your heart. The language is lucid and ably wins you. The switch between the tenses doesn’t create any glitch. It strikes a chord with the readers with its profoundness. It spans over 20 years but never leaves its essence behind – the plight of Kashmiris haunt us throughout. It gives us a balanced view and shows us the real picture of the Valley. And it stuns us with it’s climax. It is riveting and impactful.

What wins me is the usage of literary devices. It is praiseworthy and shall receive accolades for ages to come. Perhaps it will be studied by the students of literature too for it is a brilliant piece one gets to read and a fine example of how literature ought to be!

*It has allegorical writing.
*‎It captures the essence of stream of consciousness.
*‎Creates a motif using repetition of scenes, sentences or memories.
*‎Figures of speech galore! Especially, the use of climax and anti-cliamx makes the writing more impactful.

There are multiple characters and each with an assigned destiny. Author knows what is to become of the character – be it Malik chacha, Tariq, Ravi or even Kamal.

Those non-living also get to voice their views. For instance the tree with a thousand apples that stands tall and overlooking the lives of the Maliks, the Bhats and the three kids – Deewan, Safeena and Bilal is represented time and again in the novel. Even the river Jhelum, the Dal lake or the roads get to be a quintessential part of the narrative.

Overall, the novel left me emotional, tongue-tied, with cold sweaty feet. It adeptly defined freedom from different perspectives.

For me the novel is on the par of an award winning novel!

The best read of the year so far.

Hauntingly beautiful!

Take a bow author Sanchit Gupta.

And let’s just hope Paradise is not lost (pun intended).

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Publishers: Niyogi Books