By: Neel Mullick
Up here in the hills, we have a saying: ‘Deb kei maar, nah khabar nah saar’ which maybe translates as ‘When the Gods strike, they do so suddenly. There’s no foreboding or a warning!’ On the day before his son enters his teens, Sam gets home from a business trip. He has been looking forward to spending some quality time with his family.
That is up until the time a phone call brings his world crashing down. Sam finds that Marisa, his wife of more than 15 years and his son William, who would have turned 13 the day after the fateful accident, are gone. “Memory of that night continued gushing like blood from a fresh wound.”
In the early days, Sam feels that he can cope with this loss, but as he wrestles with himself, he turns for help to a therapist, Cynthia. He hopes to get back some semblance of the balance in his life. The problem is that he is not aware that Cynthia herself is struggling under the yoke of a disastrous divorce. No matter which way she turns, her ex-husband’s dark shadow looms large over her daughter, Lily.
When the winds fill up their sails, both Cynthia and Sam find themselves buffeted through choppy seas. They are at cross purposes: one is anchored in the past which has gone and can never come back whilst the other cannot get away. At this crossroad, also stands Lily, Cynthia’s daughter, whose dark secret could easily set aflame the lives of those who surrounds her.
The novel explores the hidden-from-view kind of world. A place where beneath the still surface one finds perfectly normal people. As we are told: “Everyone is weird except you and I. And even you look a bit strange!” This is no palette gone berserk; or where characters fall in through the roof; here are folks who live next door, in situations drawn from real life. But that is where the similarity ends.
Dark Blossom has been divided into a list of contents or chapters that read like a grocery list: White Noise; Surreal; In the Same Boat; Longing for Lily; Grief and Alone to end with Only Not. Much as I tried, for the life of me, I admit defeat. Perhaps these 40 rungs on the ladder have been inserted to make the book slicker. At the end of an incredible climax, there is again the telephone directory-like listing of chapters. Foxed, I can only conclude—they could have been better used elsewhere.