Title: Wheels of Wish
Author: Bhibhu Datta Rout
Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆
A combination of variegated knowledge systems including history, biology and mythological, ‘Wheels of Wishes” turns out to be one of the most enriching and engaging reads. The novel focus on three parallel stories following three separate timelines.
While Shashank Chaudhary is charged with the heinous crime of sexual assault of Roohani, this courtroom drama is narrated at the background of the history of the making of Konark temple and the building up of dham for Vishnu. Such a vibrant set of ideas allow the reader to explore the crises of “modern day living ” from various angles.
The complexity of the plot adds to the rich fabric of the novel as the three inter-dispersed stories present multiple dimensions to the concept of “wish”. A deviation from the structured, linear narration of the novel adds to the fragmented contemporary existence and offers a departure from the rigid demarcation in terms of timelines. The past and the presents seem to complement each other as there is an absolute erasure in terms of the boundaries which separates them. Thus, it brings home the idea of the interconnectedness of the present with the past.
However, the novel slightly falters on the development of the individual characters as they seem to be flat and lack depth in various instances of the novel. As a reader, one tends to feel a certain level of disconnect with Shashank and Roohani as they lack the kind of foregrounding and background knowledge which can build a channel for readers for any kind of identification.
Bhibhu Datta Rao must be appreciated for attempting to create an experimental novel which is in sync with contemporary times. For those you are looking for a departure from conventional modes of storytelling, this can certainly be your next read.