Book Review: Dark Blossom - probing the human mind and relationships

Book: Dark Blossom

Author: Neel Mullick

Publisher: Rupa

Pages: 214; Price: Rs 295

Prof Shiv Sethi

‘Dark Blossom’ is a debut novel by Neel Mullick which has brought him instant fame and made him a force to reckon with in the realm of great modern Indian writers writing in English. The unpalatable truth of a modern man’s life is that despite having a plethora of creature comforts, he is grappling with the demon of depression and mental mayhem. Dwelling on this predicament of modern man, TS Eliot aptly remarks that we are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men. ‘Dark Blossom’ is thus a deeply poignant work that deals with the inner chaos of modern men. With loss as its leitmotif, the book is a sensitive account of the pangs of separation.

Sam who is a businessman arrives back to his home from his business trip a day before his son’s thirteenth birthday. He is excited at the prospects of being with his son and wife but fate has something entirely opposite and painful in store for him. His life is ruined in one fell swoop due to the sudden death of his son and wife. His agony gets intensified to such an extent that he has to finally seek the help of Cynthia, a competent psychiatrist to overcome his trauma. But Sam is completely oblivious to the fact that his saviour is herself a victim and hence both are sailing in a same sinking boat. Cynthia has gone through the ordeal of a bad marriage and is struggling hard to cope with her devastating divorce. Her nagging worry is to protect her daughter from the malevolent influence of her former husband.

Suspense is one of the other constituents of this book which keeps the readers all the time on tenterhooks. Cynthia’s little daughter Lily’s little bosom carries a big secret which is powerful enough to upset the Apple cart of many lives around her. The looming suspense element lends an eerie atmosphere to the narrative and the author succeeds well in piquing the interest of the readers. At one with the opinion of Ruskin Bond (about this book) ‘Dark Blossom’ is undeniably a unputdownable work.